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Surviving 107-degree fever and coma, Maui police recruit recounts close brush with death

A Maui police recruit who suffered heatstroke during training is now back home. Alexa Jacobs body temperature reached 107 degrees, and she fell into a coma.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:35 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 10:53 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Maui police recruit who suffered a heatstroke during training last month is now back at home.

Alexa Jacobs, 27, fell into a coma when her body temperature reached 107 degrees on Feb. 4.

Jacobs said she was running back to MPD headquarters in Wailuku mid-afternoon just before she passed out.

She said it was a sunny day. It was hot, humid and there was no wind. The last thing she remembers was doing pushups before she blacked out.

“We were in the push-up position and I remember saying to myself, ‘Just hang on for one more second,’” Jacobs said.

“It did not look like she’s gonna make it to be quite honest,” her father Brian said.

Jacobs was flown to Queens Medical Center on Oahu after her fever peaked.

“107 is probably the highest I’ve seen in my career,” said Maui Health Chief Medical Director and Intensive Care Unit physician Dr. Michael Shea.

One by one, Jacobs’ organs started failing.

“The organs that are most susceptible to this damage are our brain, our kidneys, and our liver, and prolonged elevation of temperature can actually cause permanent damage, and even death,” Dr. Shea said.

“From the doctors it was worse and worse and worse news, and being number one on the transplant liver list in the United States to right now in one month doing an interview with you is amazing,” said Brian.

Jacobs said the next thing she remembers was waking up in an unfamiliar place.

“I woke up in a bed and I had a tube down my throat for almost a week. So, I didn’t have much of a voice. I couldn’t say much. So, it’s actually really scary waking up, you don’t know where you are,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs was a four-year starter for the University of Hawaii Hilo women’s basketball team. She said she knows limits, understands hydration, and does not know what went wrong.

“It’s training for police. It’s not easy. But I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I’ve pushed my body to the limit multiple times. I didn’t think that would happen,” she said.

Although she still has dialysis three times a week, Jacobs still wants to be a Maui Police officer.

She thanks her family, her MPD ohana, hospital staff, even strangers for their support.

“Seeing my family … just seeing the way it affected the people around me more. That’s the hardest part,” she said fighting back tears.

“The power of prayer. The people around her, the people that we don’t even know, all the way across the country that were praying for her recovery. Honest to God, if you don’t believe, get on board because Jesus came through in a big way,” said Brian.

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