“Polar Bear Plunge” blamed for non-participant’s death, 19 sued

by Walter Olson on February 14, 2011

By reader acclaim: the family of a Pennsylvania woman who attended — but did not participate in — a New Jersey “Polar Bear Plunge” charity event has sued the event sponsors and many others. Tracy Hottenstein was last seen alive around 2:15 a.m. on the night of drinking after the festivities, and was later discovered in the bay having, per Cape May County authorities, “died accidentally from hypothermia and acute intoxication.” In addition to the event sponsors, the suit names “the owners of two bars she was at on the night she died and the couple who invited her to dinner at their home that evening. Also named is the hospital where she died and the doctor who pronounced her dead, as well as the Sea Isle City Police Department and individual officers who — the suit claims — did not allow rescue workers to perform lifesaving treatment for hypothermia after they discovered Hottenstein had no pulse.” [AP/NJ.com]


1 Wfjag 02.14.11 at 6:07 am

I see why the Doctor who pronounced her dead was sued. If he hadn’t pronounced her dead, she’d still be . . . er, . . . dead.

2 Don 02.14.11 at 2:14 pm

Coming from an EMT, first aid for Hypothermia, if there is no pulse, is to leave the person cold until they get to the hospital where they can be warmed in a controlled safe environment.

Warming in the field is dangerous.

3 mojo 02.14.11 at 3:16 pm

ah, the “Fling it everywhere and see what it sticks to” school of legal practice…

4 Smart Dude 02.14.11 at 8:06 pm

A future cable show “1000 Ways to Die” Darwin Award winner’s estate sues large numbers of random blameless New Jersey residents.

Loser Pays Poster Child #6,778,329.

5 Lynn Godmilow 02.27.11 at 12:23 am

Since the police decided Tracy had died on the beach and did not let the EMT’s attend her or recognize that hyperthermia could have accounted for the condition they found her in, it is inaccurate to say she died in the hospital. Get the facts straight!

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