Autopsy: Heat Contributed to Chicago Women's Deaths

Friday expected to be last day of heat wave

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    The son of Robert F. Kennedy has been charged with harassment and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly clashing with two nurses who tried to stop him from taking his 2-day-old baby boy from a Westchester maternity unit. Douglas Kennedy and his wife called the charges "absurd" and said the nurses were in the wrong. Jonathan Dienst reports. This story was published Feb. 24, 2012 at 11:31 p.m. (Published Thursday, Apr 26, 2012)

    The Chicago area's week-long heat wave has contributed to the death of two elderly woman.

    The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Saturday that excessive heat contributed to a 62-year-old woman's death.

    Hazel Perisee was pronounced dead around 1:30 p.m. Friday in her home in the 1800 block of West 97th Street in Aurburn Gresham, according to the Medical Examiner's office.

    An autopsy showed Perisee died from heart disease, and heat stress was a contributing factor.

    A 71-year-old Annie Spears was found dead in her South Side home Thursday partly due to heat stress, the Medical Examiner's office said.. Spears also suffered from a number of other ailments.

    Friday was expected to be the last day of the high temperatures, with a heat advisory in effect until 7 p.m.  Temperatures climbed into the mid-90s and the heat index soars as high as 108 degrees in the Chicago area.

    An evening cold front brought relief from the heat with weekend temps expected to top out in the low 80s. The front also brought showers and storms, some severe, Friday evening.

    As temperatures continued to climb Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn announced the opening of more than 100 cooling centers to help residents, especially those without air.

    Cooling centers are open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Illinois Department of Human Services offices throughout the state.

    “High temperatures can be extremely dangerous, especially for senior citizens and young children,” Quinn said in a statement. “I urge all residents to take the safety steps necessary to stay cool, and be alert for signs of heat-related illness.”

    The Office of Emergency Management and Communications advised Tuesday that city residents be prepared as the weather warms.

    Residents should stay hydrated, avoid being out during the hottest parts of the day if possible and check in on each other, Dr. Bechara Choucair said.

    The OEMC also asked for the public's help by "checking in on older or frail neighbors or relatives, particularly those with disabilities, poor health, or those who may be isolated."

    According to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, two deaths Tuesday were cited as possibly heat-related. Autopsies were scheduled for Wednesday.

    The next chance for rain comes with another chance of storms Monday.

    Weekend temperatures cool slightly but stay seasonable in the high 70s and low 80s.

    How are you keeping cool during the first heat wave of summer? Show us! Send photos to isee@nbcchicago.com.