Hypothermia protocol used to save lives - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/3/10

Hypothermia protocol used to save lives

Posted:

By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Donna Wickham is alive today because her brain was cooled down in a new lifesaving technique that she calls the Big Freeze.  Last summer, Donna woke up with excruciating pain that started in her left arm. 

"It was almost like somebody took a knife or razor blade and split my arm open and then it felt like a dragon started sitting on my chest," said Donna Wickman, a hypothermia patient.

Donna was having a heart attack, an ambulance came and paramedics had to shock her to bring her back.  At St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, doctors used cold fluid to chill her body down to just 91 degrees. The idea is to slow down the body's demand for blood and oxygen to the brain, which will hopefully also slow down any brain damage.

"The hypothermia protocol about doubles the chance that you'll leave with your brain functioning well, leave with your brain intact," said John Hawkins, M.D., a cardiologist.

The new cooling procedure saved Donna's life.

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