Hypothermia Trial Beginning in Pittsburgh
Doctors will try to save seriously injured patients – dying patients, actually – by using the procedure.
Pittsburgh's UPMC Presbyterian Hospital will endeavor to save 10 patients, seriously injured by knife or gunshot wounds, by placing them in suspended animation – testing this procedure for the first time, according to multiple news reports by Engadget and others.
"We are suspending life, but we don't like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction," says Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at the hospital, who leads the trial. "So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation."
This procedure replaces a patient's blood with a cold saline solution, which rapidly cools the body and stops almost all cellular activity. "If a patient comes to us two hours after dying, you can't bring them back to life. But if they're dying and you suspend them, you have a chance to bring them back after their structural problems have been fixed," said Peter Rhee, a surgeon at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who helped develop this procedure.