|9 Time on The Line||June 15, 1999|
Rouleau is a small dot on the Saskatchewan map, just 500 people. Many rural settlements like it- a couple of grain elevators on a railway- are fading away. But not Rouleau.
This is where Karlee Kosolofski, aged two, "died" on February 23, 1994. She followed her unsuspecting father outside when he left for work at 2:30 a.m., and the spring-loaded back door swung shut behind her. Her mother found her outside the next morning, frozen solid after almost six hours in -22°C temperatures and a howling wind.
There is no hospital in Rouleau. The few nurses who live there expect that neighbours will call in a medical emergency.
And that's just what Karlee's mother, Karrie, did. Hysterical, she called on Caroline Peck, an emergency- room nurse with more than 30 years experience, who lived nearby.
Peck began applying warm, moist towels to thaw Karlee. Then she took over for Karrie, who had begun cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An ambulance was called from Regina, 34 kilometers away. Then Peck told Karrie to call Linda Benoit, another nurse. When Benoit arrived she took over the CPR.
Meanwhile, Peck's nephew, Robert Badley, waited outside to flag the ambulance down.
When Karlee arrived at the Plains Health Centre in Regina at 9:30 a.m., she still had no pulse or heartbeat, and her inner body temperature was just Saskatchewan 14°C, the lowest temperature ever recorded from which a human being recovered. For the next five hours, a medical team used the only heart-lung machine in Regina to remove, warm and recirculate Karlee's blood. Then her heart started beating, and life slowly returned. Unfortunately, nine days later doctors had to amputate Karlee's left leg above the knee, where the tissue damage was irreparable.
As soon as they heard what had happened, Mary Anne Mytopher and other local members of the order of the Royal Purple- the woman's auxiliary to the Elks Lodge- threw a steak fund- raiser together for the Kosolofskis at the hotel.
Because of the care and concern of so many people, today Karlee is a spunky, healthy seven-year-old; her survival, some would say, a medical miracle.