Depending on how many science fiction movies you’ve seen, this article may be a little hard to believe, but it is also nonetheless true. It seems that doctors have found a new way to save lives – by killing their patients – only to bring them back to life later. If that sounds a little like “playing God” to you, you’re probably not too far from the truth. This method has been tested out on animals in the past, but it has not been tried with human beings.
What Exactly Is Suspended Animation?
At the most basic level, suspended animation refers to the process of cooling a patient’s body down to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and replacing all of their blood with a solution of cold saline. It’s important to note that in this state, a patient is technically clinically dead. They show no sign of brainwaves or any other kind of activity. It’s also worth mentioning that a person can stay in this state for hours at a time before there is any real threat to “life”. Then, after they have finished doing all that’s medically necessary for the patient, doctors can bring him or her back to life by slowly pumping blood into them and raising their body temperature.
So, why would doctors and surgeons want to basically “kill” their patient to heal them? Quite simply because sometimes they need more time to fix an injury than the time they have before a patient bleeds to death on the table. Obviously, this would only be used on patients who meet a certain criteria, and not for everyone who walks (or rides) through the door.
The team at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital is all set to begin these trials. They are planning to use the suspended animation procedure on 10 patients, and then they will compare the results with 10 other similar patients who did not receive the procedure. It remains to be seen if this will turn into a regular option for severe cases in the future.
What do you think?
[Image via alienanthology]