ER doctor: Rescued kayakers relieved, appreciative

The outside of Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette is seen Fri, July 11, 2014. (WLUK/Andrew LaCombe)
The outside of Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette is seen Fri, July 11, 2014. (WLUK/Andrew LaCombe)

MARINETTE - The Coast Guard says the three kayakers rescued Friday morning were wearing life jackets and stuck with their watercraft.

Door County sheriff’s officials identified the kayakers as Alison Alter, 43, of Austin, Texas; her nine-year-old son, Zachary Suri; and her nine-year-old nephew, Thomas Alter, who lives in Highland Park, Illinois.

The three were found in the waters of Green Bay after a 15-hour search. They spent a few hours at Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette and were released later Friday morning. The U.S. Coast Guard said two kayakers showed signs of hypothermia.

The kayakers told a hospital spokesman they did not want to share their story with the public.

However, FOX 11 did talk to the doctor who was in the emergency room when the kayakers arrived. Speaking on behalf of the rescued kayakers, Dr. Richard Stein thanked everyone who helped out.

"Obviously everyone's very relieved," said Stein. "We had a near-miss tragedy, and thanks to the Coast Guard everything turned out great. They were very appreciative of all the care received from the Coast Guard, from our rescue workers, EMS, our paramedics and the nursing staff."

Stein explained how he treats people for hypothermia.

"We'll assess your degree of hydration, your kidney function," he said.

He also described how hypothermia could occur on a summer night.

"In a case like (Thursday) night when it dropped down to the 50s, prolonged exposure when you're damp and wet or just sitting around in a bathing suit, you can start to get hypothermic," said Stein.

While everyone reacts differently to long periods of time in and around water, age and body type do play a role.

"Your muscles are working overtime, and your muscles could work so hard that you actually start to get muscle breakdown," said Stein.

Stein says he usually treats a few people every month for hypothermia, but it's most common in the fall.