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posted by NCommander on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the on-ice dept.

Pipedot has picked up on this remarkable New Scientist article: "Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death."

From the article:

Doctors will try to save the lives of 10 patients with knife or gunshot wounds by placing them in suspended animation, buying time to fix their injuries. ... The technique involves replacing all of a patient's blood with a cold saline solution, which rapidly cools the body and stops almost all cellular activity. ... At lower temperatures, cells need less oxygen because all chemical reactions slow down. This explains why people who fall into icy lakes can sometimes be revived more than half an hour after they have stopped breathing. ... The technique was first demonstrated in pigs in 2002.

The surgeon leading the trial (who apparently prefers to avoid the term "suspended animation") says he "eventually hopes to extend the technique to other conditions." I'm not surprised. Isn't the potential here enormous?

And the ethical issues are interesting in their own right. These are discussed towards the end of the article, and in this separate (self-contradictory) opinion piece (which appeared in print under the headline "Opt out is a cop-out").

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  • (Score: 1) by skullz on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:21PM

    by skullz (2532) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:21PM (#24467)

    I'll take two!

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:35PM (#24474)

    If this is true and not some sort of sick joke it seems to imply that pretty much all organ donations from "dead" people are in some very iffy territory, basically we are butchering living people for spare parts.

    • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:50PM (#24481)

      That's hardly the point. The point is that cooling a person with traumatic injuries can extend the amount of time you have to fix the problem(s).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:57PM (#24486)

        Uhm, so we should just ignore all other aspects because of what the "point" is?
        from TFA "After we did those experiments, the definition of 'dead' changed," says Rhee. "Every day at work I declare people dead. They have no signs of life, no heartbeat, no brain activity. I sign a piece of paper knowing in my heart that they are not actually dead. I could, right then and there, suspend them. But I have to put them in a body bag. It's frustrating to know there's a solution."

        • (Score: 1) by monster on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:56AM

          by monster (1260) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:56AM (#24645) Journal

          But being able to suspend someone doesn't mean you will be able to "resume" them later. In fact, that is the problem with current cryogenic techniques. There will be some cases where you can save lives you would previously simply declare dead, but there will also be cases where even suspension isn't enough and the person is going to die anyway. I think that in the future this will be just another treatment like intubation and induced coma.

          Brain damage must also be taken into account: You could end up with a live body with a "dead" brain. If the brain is so damaged that the mind is no longer functional, even at basic functions, is the person really alive?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:05PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:05PM (#25087)

            The current ability to retore peoples health isn't central to the question, sometimes people heal all on their own even though doctors claim that they have no chance of survival.
            The point is if we don't have a good way of determining if someone is actually dead, where do we actually draw the line? And is it even morally ok to take peoples parts if we can't say for sure that they are dead?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by rts008 on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:04PM

      by rts008 (3001) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:04PM (#24490)

      If this is true and not some sort of sick joke...

      Unlikely to be a joke, as this has been covered by most(if not all) news outlets for about the past week.

      I don't see that it implies anything like you suggest though. If they are 'pronounced dead' before they are 'put on ice for organ harvest', I don't see the connection you made.

      This is more about those that can be 'put on ice' before they are pronounced dead, so they can hopefully survive the more involved procedures that would otherwise take too long for survival.

      I will admit that it could be gamed/manipulated to cause what you fear, but that behavior is not unique to this idea(TFA) and not an issue here.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:31PM (#24506)

        You say "I don't see that it implies anything like you suggest though. If they are 'pronounced dead' before they are 'put on ice for organ harvest', I don't see the connection you made."

        With the risk of just repeating myself, the article says:
        "After we did those experiments, the definition of 'dead' changed," says Rhee. "Every day at work I declare people dead. They have no signs of life, no heartbeat, no brain activity. I sign a piece of paper knowing in my heart that they are not actually dead. I could, right then and there, suspend them. But I have to put them in a body bag. It's frustrating to know there's a solution."

        I dunno, but to me that's pretty much the same as saying that the current definition of "dead" isn't quite dead. This to me seems to open up a can of worms.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by aXis on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:05AM

          by aXis (2908) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:05AM (#24531)

          Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.
          Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.
          Inigo Montoya: What's that?
          Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

    • (Score: 1) by cykros on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:09PM

      by cykros (989) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:09PM (#24491)

      Hey, are you suggesting that butchering people for their parts is a problem? Here at SoylentNews, that's just the way we do things, and it's delicious!

      • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:17PM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:17PM (#24499) Journal

        Hey, this isn't soylentnews today, this is baconnews! We butcher pigs (long or short) for their parts!

        • (Score: 1) by clone141166 on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:33PM

          by clone141166 (59) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:33PM (#24508)

          I for one welcome our new suidae overlords! Though I would be concerned if the bacon was green.

          • (Score: 1) by dboz87 on Thursday April 03 2014, @05:32PM

            by dboz87 (1285) on Thursday April 03 2014, @05:32PM (#25695)

            Why? I hear green does amazing thing for eggs and ham.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by wantkitteh on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:54PM

      by wantkitteh (3362) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @10:54PM (#24516) Homepage Journal

      Keep in mind that this "iffy territory" was perfectly acceptable to every medical establishment that ever handed out a donor card and only now needs ethical reevaluation following technological and procedural breakthroughs with extremely limited availability at this time. Those decisions were based on our knowledge of what a doctor could reasonably expect to revive someone from given the levels of skill and tech to hand; that's not iffy, that's cold reason applied exactly as it should be.

      Your point of view is perfectly understandable, of course. As a motorcyclist, I am very well aware of how horrific accidental injury can be because of something someone else did/didn't and hope this gets rolled out ASAP before more of my friends, friends-of-friends or I myself lose limbs or die. Unfortunately, impatience won't help anyone, no matter whether it's the potential patient or the researcher.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Thexalon on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:36PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:36PM (#24475)

    "Transtellar Cruise Lines would like to apologize to passengers for the continuing delay to this flight. We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey. Meanwhile we thank you for your patience. The cabin crew will shortly be serving coffee and biscuits again. ... There has been a delay. Passengers are to be kept temporarily in suspended animation, for their comfort and convenience. Coffee and biscuits are being served every year, after which passengers are returned to suspended animation for their continued comfort and convenience. Departure will take place when the flight stores are complete. We apologize for the delay."

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 1) by Tork on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:42PM

    by Tork (3914) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:42PM (#24477)

    ...the surgeon leading the trial (who apparently prefers to avoid the term "suspended animation"...)

    Yeah... there's a detail we wouldn't want to waste time clarifying in the summary.

    --
    Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:23PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:23PM (#24520) Journal

      From TFA:

      "We are suspending life, but we don't like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction," says Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at the hospital, who is leading the trial. "So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation."

      Well, they're not hitting absolute 0, so it's really more of a "retarded animation" situation, but that term sounds even worse. I think I agree with the doctor on this one. But, if you don't know what suspended animation is, hand in your geek card.

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @11:48PM (#24524)
        (pssst, that's the article you're quoting from, not the summary.)
        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:46PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:46PM (#25250) Journal

          I guess that's why he wrote "TFA", not "TFS".

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:41AM

      by Open4D (371) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:41AM (#24666) Journal

      I had always intended, if this submission were accepted, to come and comment with a couple of additional points.

      One was an apology to the surgeon leading the trial, for going against his preference. I can understand his wish to avoid sci-fi connotations, but I consider his term "emergency preservation and resuscitation" to be far less meaningful/useful than "suspended animation [wikipedia.org]". It's also more than twice as long.

       
      I also want to mention giving the credit to Pipedot. I normally go through my RSS feeds many times a day. When I came across this story on Pipedot, I considered it sufficiently important to immediately stop what I was doing and come and post it here. When I resumed going through my feeds, it actually turned out that some site called "Slashdot" was the first with this story!

      • (Score: 2) by dotdotdot on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:36PM

        by dotdotdot (858) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:36PM (#25175)

        I originally submitted the story to Pipedot and talked myself out of cross-submitting it here. I'm glad you did since the comments and discussion were unique on each site. I hope both sites succeed differently so they will grow even more distinct.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by patric91 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:52AM

    by patric91 (2471) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:52AM (#24548)

    I remembered something I read a while back about hypothermia being tested as part of the treatment of cardiac arrest patients. Seems to run along the same line, the brain faces less damage from oxygen deprivation when the blood (and brain) have been chilled.

    If your interested.

    https://circ.ahajournals.org/content/108/1/118.ful l/ [ahajournals.org]

    --
    Armchair Polymath
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by chewbacon on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:04AM

    by chewbacon (1032) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:04AM (#24602)

    Case studies of unwitnessed cardiac arrest shows better patient outcomes for those who were put on a "shiver protocol" and had their body temp dropped to somewhere around 32 C (it's been a while). Cared for a girl who overdosed once and was thought to be anoxic. After spending time shivering, she was revived and perfectly functional physically and mentally aside some severe and intriguing memory loss.

  • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:59AM

    by Open4D (371) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:59AM (#24669) Journal

    One thought occurred to me. Will they be able to increase the survival rate of these kinds of injuries so much that significant numbers of gangsters become less afraid of participating in gun & knife violence?
    As long as the brain is protected, all other parts of the body could be repaired? (So just be sure to wear a bullet-proof helmet with Oculus Rift-Facebook technology inside to let you see an enhanced view of your surroundings, before you get into a gunfight.)

    • (Score: 2) by WizardFusion on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:28AM

      by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:28AM (#24696) Journal

      No, gangsters should be left to die on the side of the road like the scum that they are. Innocent by-standers should get the treatment though.