Killing a Patient to Save Them

NEW HYDE PARK -- A Pittsburgh hospital is pushing the envelope on saving lives by draining the blood of critically-injured patients and replacing it with freezing saltwater. The move causes hypothermia and slows metabolism in dying patients and may allow doctors time to treat and revive such patients, says a local critical care doctor. "Therapeutic hypothermia, defined as dropping a patient's core temperature below normal, has been used in medicine for years, and it has been successful in some patient populations, for example patients who have been able to be revived with standard CPR from a cardiac arrest,” says Matthew Bank, MD, director of trauma and co-director of surgical intensive care unit at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. “The next step would be to try therapeutic hypothermia on patients who have not been able to be revived, and continue to have no pulse in the emergency room.”

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