Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013

How could she survive?

Explains CNN's Dr Sanjay Gupta

A well-placed pool of water and an air pocket appear to have combined to help Reshma survive for 16 days under the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza.
The girl reportedly was in a partially collapsed room and had access to an air pocket, which is “obviously, the most crucial thing,” says Dr Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN.
Gupta also noted, “Having some access to water must have happened here.”
The source of the pool of water was unclear. Water may have trickled to the building’s basement, where Reshma was found, from recent rains and from water sprayed by rescuers. Firefighters had hosed down the area to extinguish a fire that erupted during a failed rescue attempt.
Gupta — acclaimed for his reporting on various disasters including tsunami in Japan, earthquake in Haiti and flooding in Pakistan — said the woman likely had some sort of access to food, although people have been known to survive a couple of weeks without it.
He said it was “somewhat surprising” that Reshma would have been able to call out to rescuers, as “even that requires a fair amount of energy.”
Asked how long someone can survive without food or water, Gupta said, “We keep redefining that a bit.”
Also, Reshma’s youth may have worked in her favour, he said. “The body can be very good at preserving itself.”
A body can enter a state known as starvation ketosis, Gupta said, in which it utilises muscles and other sorts of protein to feed itself.
While Reshma’s outlook is favourable, food will have to be reintroduced slowly, he said.
“My guess is, she’s extremely weak,” he said.