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Cold Contributes To Death Of Chicago Heights Woman

Pamela Jones Pamela Jones
Pamela Jones serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) – A neighbor discovered the body of 61-year-old Carolyn Wilkins outside and called 9-1-1 Tuesday morning.

But it was too late.

Cold weather contributed to her death, making her the area’s fourth temperature-related fatality.

“I’m sad because I saw her like every day. Like every day in the morning,” neighbor Mauricio Morales says.

The woman may have been trying to get inside her home.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says Wilkins died of hypothermia — too much exposure to the cold – but that she also had heart disease and diabetes.

The conditions can reduce the body’s ability to adjust to cold temperatures, experts say.

Doctors at Loyola University Medical Center say when the cold gets to be too much the skin often feels it first.

Dr. Arthur Sanford was treating a 45-year-old frostbite patient Thursday. He may need surgery to repair his fingers.

“It’s literally ice in the tissues,” Sanford says. “It’s frozen tissue, and so you’ve got to reverse that. Get the ice crystals out of the tissue and get the circulation restored.”