Coroner Warns Of Snow Removal Dangers Following Death

Madison County Coroner Stephen P. Nonn is reminding residents of the dangers of snow shoveling and removal as Monday’s snowfall has contributed to the death of a Glen Carbon man who collapsed within minutes of shoveling outside of his residence Tuesday morning.

The decedent, identified as 65 year old Otis L. Douglas, of Glen Carbon, had been outside shoveling snow, returned into his residence, and collapsed within a very few minutes of the arduous task. 9-1-1 was summoned to the residence at 7:50 a.m. He was successfully treated by first responders from the Glen Carbon Fire Protection District who were able to restore a pulse. The decedent was transferred to Anderson Hospital in Maryville, Illinois and later deteriorated and died in the Intensive Care Unit at 12:00 p.m.

Mr. Douglas suffered from pre-existing heart disease, which makes snow shoveling even more perilous.

The National Safety Council has a few tips and reminders for snow removal during the winter season:

Do not shovel after eating or while smoking

Take it slow and stretch out before you begin

Shovel only fresh, powdery snow; its lighter

Push the snow rather than lifting it

If you do lift it, use a small shovel or only partially fill the shovel

Lift with your legs, not your back

Do not work to the point of exhaustion

Know the signs of a heart attack, and stop immediately and call 911 if you’re experiencing any of them; every minute counts

“We always feel the need to clean the walks and clear the cars, but everyone needs to consider their own state of health and what could be lost versus what could be gained”, Nonn said adding, “Every year, deaths occur while shoveling or in a close time proximity of engaging in the activity. I would prefer those who have health problems or are out of shape play it safe.”

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