Boy found frozen and survived reunites with medical team that saved him

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

Paulie shared his story with us at Mayo Clinic's traveling mobile exhibit, which will be making a stop in Eau Claire on Saturday.

It is stopping in 40 different cities across the country as Mayo Clinic celebrates 150 years.

The exhibit will be open to the public on Saturday in the Scheels parking lot at Oakwood Mall in Eau Claire from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Paulie Hynek does not have any memory of what happened to him 13 years ago.

The shock of hearing he had a heart-stopping, some would say near death experience does not faze him.

"I don't remember it blowing my mind," he said.

But every person in this room remembers February 2001 clear as day.

"The flight request came in as soon as I walked in the door," said Brian Murley, a Flight Nurse on Mayo One.

He remembers getting the call about 2-year-old Paulie Hynek who wandered away from his home and had just been found frozen near Eleva. He had no pulse and his body temperature was just 64 degrees.

"We just walked in the door, you just imagine yourself walking in the door to work no matter what your job is and getting hit right like that with something," Murley said.

Paulie was flown to Eau Claire where doctors began to warm him up, trying to bring him back to life.

"The most efficient way to warm someone is to put them on heart lung bypass, and then you warm them from the inside out, instead of outside in," he said.

Doctors pumped blood out of his heart, warmed it through a machine, and put it back in his body. The result was nothing short of a miracle.

"It's not explainable; you may do this another 99 times and not see this again," said Doctor Robert Wiechmann, a Cardiovascular Surgeon who operated on Paulie.

"Just watching the video today you get kind of a chill, it's amazing to think he's here with us," said Dr. Brad Grewe, a Trauma Vascular Surgeon who operated on Paulie.

His mother thought Paulie did not have a chance - and that life had changed forever.

"I never even stopped to think you could be warmed and brought back," she said.

Now, 13 years later, Paulie lives a normal life in Eleva, knowing he would not be here today without a lot of help.

"Thanks to all the doctors, helicopter pilot, basically anyone that helped get me get to where I am," he said.

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