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Forum News Service, Published December 24 2013

Condition of UMD student found in subzero weather upgraded to fair

DULUTH, Minn. – The condition of a University of Minnesota Duluth student found unconscious in subzero cold on the morning of Dec. 7 has been upgraded from critical to fair, hospital officials confirmed Tuesday.

Alyssa Jo Lommel had been listed in critical condition Saturday. The UMD student was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul after being diagnosed with hypothermia and severe frostbite.

Meanwhile, family members continued to report signs of progress on Lommel’s CaringBridge page. She is now breathing without the aid of a ventilator.

Lommel is continuing to make slow progress, according to the CaringBridge postings. She was taken off a ventilator Monday and was being weaned off heavy medications. She is able to speak in a soft voice and eat ice chips.

Though she is improving, the CaringBridge page also reported that doctors “will be doing some amputations” within the next two weeks.

Lommel still doesn’t fully understand what happened to her and hasn’t been allowed to see her hands when the dressings have been changed, the website said.

Her family planned to spend Christmas Eve watching the movie “Christmas Vacation” with Lommel in her hospital room.

Lommel, a sophomore from St. Cloud, had been out with friends on the night of Dec. 6. They dropped her off around midnight at the driveway of the house where she lives. That was next door to the house where passersby discovered her around 9:30 the next morning, wearing boots, jeans and a sweatshirt and nothing on her hands. The temperature had dropped to 17 below zero that night.