How a five-year-old survived Haiti's earthquake

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Washington, Jan 22 (ANI): The story of five-year-old Monley Elize being found alive after being trapped for seven days and 21 hours under the rubble of his family home has left many wondering how he lasted so long.

Elize was pulled out of the rubble severely dehydrated, but medical workers say that he would probably survive.

According to Claude A. Piantadosi, a Professor of Medicine at Duke University, and author of the book, "The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments", the critical issue for trapped survivors in Haiti is dehydration. "At this stage even a small child can go a couple of weeks without food. And a big strapping American can go four weeks without food. Its really about water," Discovery News quoted him as saying.

"You can go without drinking for about 100 hours. That's the general rule. That's why the first 100 hours are so important," he said.

After 100 hours (about 4 days), Piantadosi explains, the blood's plasma has lost enough volume that the heart can no longer pump vital fluids around the body, blood pressure drops and tissues start to fail.

To even have a chance at surviving 100 hours, however, a person needs to be healthy and injury-free. Injuries and pre-existing conditions introduce their own hazards.

Elize had no injuries, and when he was rescued he was just very thirsty.

"I want some juice," he said to his rescuers upon being pulled out.

A cool place is another factor, which helps, as one is less likely to sweat and can stay adequately hydrated for as long as possible.

Elize had been found under rubble, he had likely not been exposed to Haiti's beating sun, and that may have helped.

And being a child he had a tougher chance at survival.

Piantadosi explains that, since children are smaller their body-to-surface ratio is less than an adult's, and they're more likely to lose the critical amount of water through perspiration.

Elize reportedly took in lots of fluids, nibbled on a few bites of rice and appeared to regain some of his strength during the three hours he was in the clinic. (ANI)

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