A University of Maryland Medical Center medical team led by Dr. Samuel Tishman, is working to save trauma patients who have lost so much blood volume that ordinary methods of resuscitation are ineffective. The technique, called Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation (EPR), uses an infusion of ice-cold saline water to give surgeons enough time to act.
Studies in animals have already shown very promising results: for example, pigs with acute trauma could be cooled for 3 hours, then treated, and then resuscitated.
" We felt it was time to apply this technology to our patients, " said Tisherman. " We are doing it now and we are learning a lot as we go through the trial. Once we have proven that it works (on human patients), we can expand the utility of this technique to help some patients in critical conditions to survive, which would otherwise be impossible, "he added. " I want to make it clear that we are not trying to send people to Saturn. We are just trying to save time to save lives, "he said.
At present, we do not know exactly how much time we have precisely when such a cooling of the body. And when a person's cells are warmed up later, they can be damaged and can cause a range of chemical reactions, potentially damaging them again. To sum up, the longer the cells stay without oxygen, the greater the damage will be.
Science fiction fans are looking forward to the results of this research. Philip K. Dick fans, in particular, are thinking about cold pack from his 1960 novel Dr. Futurity.
Parson's said, "...Can he be brought out of the cold-pack?"
"Yes," Helmar said. "For no more than half an hour at a time, however..."
Now the cube had been opened by Lodge technicians. The cold-pack was being sucked out greedily by plastic suction tendrils. In a moment the body would be exposed...
"He will warm rapidly," Helmar grated. "It's no form of refrigeration you're familiar with.
(Read more about Philip K. Dick's cold-pack)