Harrison man’s survival outdoors called a miracle

March 13, 2014

By Pat Maurer

Allen Arwood’s survival after spending 14.5 hours outdoors in minus 10 degree weather is being called a miracle.

Arwood, 78, of Harrison, was coming home from having dinner out on the evening of March 5 when he fell into the snow in his front yard and was unable to get up.

Son Randy Arwood said after a previous stroke left him with a weak left side, his father, who lost his keys when he fell, couldn’t get up, but finally managed to crawl up onto his porch and find his spare key. But by then he was not able to get the key into the door lock, because his hands were so numb with the cold.

Although he had a cell phone, his hands were so frozen by then that, although he tried, he couldn’t call for help. No neighbors live near his rural Harrison home and  his family lives downstate.

Arwood retired and moved to Harrison about 25 years ago.

He crawled between his storm door and the door to the home and eventually fell asleep there. He was wearing jeans, a jacket and light boots, son Randy said.

His son said his father remembers everything that happened before he fell asleep, but he doesn’t remember anything after that. “We had tried to call him that evening. We call every night and morning to check on him,” he said. “When  he didn’t answer, we thought he had just gone to bed.”

Arwood was out in the sub-zero temperatures all night until his daughter became worried when she couldn’t reach him the next morning. She called the Clare County Sheriff’s Department and they immediately sent a deputy to check on him.

The deputy found him on the porch nearly frozen, but still alive. He called an ambulance and Arwood was taken to MidMichigan Medical Center – Gladwin, and from there transferred to MMMC-Midland.

“The doctors and nurses said it is a miracle that he is alive at all,” said daughter-in-law Nancy Arwood. “He was so frozen they were afraid something might break when they lifted him off the porch to take him to the hospital.”

“He is alert and making a remarkable recovery,” Randy said. His wife Nancy said, “I believe God was watching out for him – he shouldn’t be here after what happened.” She added, “Everyone has been praying for him.”

Arwood is in intensive care and in stable condition at the hospital in Midland. “Now we are just taking it one day at a time,” son Randy said. “They are watching for infection or pneumonia and treating his hands and feet, which were severely frostbitten.

“Everyone has been wonderful,” Nancy said. “Deputy Robb, the emergency personnel, the dispatcher Darcy and the doctors and staff at both Gladwin and Midland Hospitals.”

She said she just wishes he would have had a “Medic Alert” bracelet or necklace. “It is important for older people who live alone to have that kind of security. I just wish he (Allen) had had one.”

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