When a search party finally found Gore Otteson, a 2-year-old Colorado boy who had escaped from the family cabin, he had already been underwater in a drainage for 25 minutes. The boy’s grandfather, a retired surgeon, began performing CPR immediately but had little hope of reviving him.
Still, Gore was flown to the nearest hospital where doctors managed to get the boys heart working, an entire hour after it had stopped. And then it was time to think about brain damage. Instead of waiting for the boy to fully recover before assessing any damage, they decided to try out an experimental procedure, one that had been used successfully on a few other children.
The procedure required doctors to lower Gore’s body temperature to around 90 degrees. The colder internal temperature protects the brain and gives it a chance to heal. The results?
Perfect. The little boy is perfect. Just two months after his near death, he was on the set of The Today Show.
While doctors slowly warmed Gore’s body, everyone looked for signs of brain activities. Immediately, his eyes started moving and shortly thereafter Gore made the sign for “hungry.”
Before trying therapeutic hypothermia, the medical staff warned the Ottesons that it had a 1 percent chance of working. The boys complete recovery — zero brain damage — is baffling to the doctors but good news for the treatment and future accident victims.
Back in January, an 18-month-old Salt Lake City boy went without a heartbeat for 40 minutes after his mother found him facedown in a tub. He, too, was treated with the therapy and made a full recovery.
But children still die from drowning, which is the second-leading cause of children’s accidental death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.
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