Homeless man to lose toes due to frostbite

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-15 19:27:04-05

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Frostbite is a very real threat. 

On Monday, doctors told Chris Culp, a 30-year-old man who is homeless, that he would lose some of his toes due to frostbite.

Culp has a case of deep frostbite that affects all layers of the skin. After rewarming, the dead tissue turns black.

One of Culp's friends reached out to Nellie McCool, founder of "Free Hot Soup Kansas City," for help.

"She texted me and told me that he's afraid to look at his foot. He went to the hospital several days ago, and they sent him away and he's afraid that's he's going to have them amputated,'" McCool told 41 Action News.

McCool found Culp at a homeless camp in the West Bottoms and took him to Shawnee Mission Medical Center's emergency room.

"They told him that they were going to take care of him and he had at least a several days stay ahead of him," McCool said.

She has visited Culp a number of times including on Monday after he learned about the amputation and shot a video.

McCool: You almost left today?
Culp: Yeah, I wanted to leave. I just wanted to take my chances outside or whatever and they said, 'If you do that it's going to be a lot worse and I'll probably end up dying'

With a wind chill of minus 16, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 30 minutes.

Culp: Now that I'm getting a better understanding of what they're going to be doing and all that I'm just going to calm down and just relax and do what they have to do.
McCool: You know what? No one deserves this and people are listening and they're going to try to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else.

"If you see anyone outside in the cold just ask them if they're OK like you would anybody," McCool said.