(Memphis) Right across the street from the snow and ice-covered entrance of Hamilton High School, Chris Bell has a memory frozen in his mind.
“Yes, I drove by here this morning about 9 and saw three police cars. It was a body,” Bell said.
Witnesses say early Tuesday morning, a man’s body was found near the steps of Hamilton High.
Memphis police say the cause of death is unknown at this time, but cold weather isn’t being ruled out as a possible cause.
“I would hate to see anytime to see some have to die in that kind of way. It’s a real tragedy,” Bell said.
Cold weather-related deaths and symptoms can happen more than you think when there is a dangerous drop in your body temperature called hypothermia.
Dr. G. Scott Morris is CEO of the Church Health Center in Memphis.
“Hypothermia can lead to death, but it can lead to brain damage and things that would take forever and permanent injury,” Morris said.
You might think the homeless are the likely victims exposed to cold weather-related illnesses, but they’re not the only ones affected by hypothermia.
“I really want to focus on elderly folk. That’s where the risk is. People who are homeless on the street, that’s obvious. But the people who are your grandmother and children, as well,” Morris said.
It’s why when temperatures drop, Dr. Morris hopes emergency shelters will continue to open their doors to strangers and families will reach out to those needing help to staying warm.
“Memphis is a great city of hospitality. Hopefully, anybody would be willing to open either doors and bring that person in or it could mean the difference between life and death or disability,” Morris said.