Hospitals seeing spike in cold-related illness

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The cold temperatures blanketing Kansas are more than just an inconvenience; they can be dangerous, especially for people who are homeless. 

"There has been a point in time that my fingers got so cold I had to go to the emergency room," said Bobby Redgate, who is homeless. 

Redgate has been homeless for about 10 years. After his last run-in with frostbite, he knows how important it is to stay warm. 

"Never again. I make sure that I got plenty of layers on me to keep my fingers warm."

Several people have actually ended up in emergency rooms. Staff at Via Christi St. Francis say they have seen several patients with frostbite or hypothermia.

"We've had a significant increase in the number of patients that have been coming in out of the cold," said Dr. Mag Botros

Dr. Botros says the cold weather is taking its toll, and that these frigid temperatures can be dangerous. 

"We take their shoes off and notice that their toes are black," she said.

Some of those cases can require amputation.

Hoping to prevent that from happening, United Methodist Open Door -- at 402 East 2nd Street North -- has its warming shelter open. 

"The cold ain't going to get me down," Redgate said. "I've seen many a winter and I've survived them all. I ain't going to let this one get me down."

United Methodist Open Door has been at capacity. Right now, it is in need of volunteers and donations. Click here to help


 

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