His body was rubbed with alcohol. His feet were placed in hot water, and adrenaline was injected into the body to stimulate the heart. Blood was pumped into his arteries. Artificial respiration was resorted to after the tissues had become soft. It took about forty minutes to get some signs of revival.
His skin became warm and there were indications of feeble pulse beating. More blood was given into the artery. He regained consciousness after about 12 hours in the hospital.
This apparently dead person left the hospital hale and hearty after being in the hospital for a couple of months. This has given scientists the vital breakthrough: they know now that if a body remains in a state of deep hypothermia, as in this case, it can be revived.
More resuscitation is not the final goal of the scientists. They want the revived organism to regain full health and vitality. There are now focusing their attention on this aspect.
They are seeking to restore the damage done to the brain even after irreversible changes resulting in death have started. Experiments have revealed that the higher areas of the brain can be fully restored. It has been further proved that cold promotes the re-animation of the brain when it is badly injured. Scientists want more time to study this aspect.
This, however, does not mean that science has broken the barrier between life and death. The barrier still remains. There are stumbling blocks. Science is now over-working to remove them. Scientists in many countries are working on latest methods of delaying the death processes, which means the processes of delaying biological deaths.
Hypothermia is fast gaining ground in this connection. It is a well-known medical process, frequently used in surgery in which the body is artificially cooled. Hypothermia is accomplished with simple ice packing. To go to lower temperatures, sometimes a few degrees above freezing, the patient must be surgically connected with a machine that pumps and oxygenates the blood, completely bypassing both the heart and the lungs.
One problem with very deep hypothermia in human beings is improper oxygenation as blood cells become sluggish, moving through very fine blood vessels (capillaries) in the body. This is overcome by removing all blood cells and substituting synthetic blood composed of a balanced salt solution, glucose and other essential chemicals.
Oxygen is supplied by “hyperbaric” means in which the patient and heart-lung machine are placed in a chamber where, at three times normal atmospheric pressures, there is enough oxygen dissolved in the synthetic blood to oxygenate all tissues of the body, even at temperatures within two or three degrees of the freezing point.
Deep hypothermia, using synthetic blood under pressure, may permit critically ill patients to remain at near freezing temperatures for weeks or months once an implantable artificial heart is put into the body. Dr. William Kolff, an American expert, has kept a calf alive for 32 hours with an artificial heart.
Dr. Audrey Smith, on the other hand, refuses to share this optimism and comments: “I know of no scientific evidence to support the notion that human beings could survive prolonged period with the entire body frozen and heartbeats and breathing arrested.”
However, this is conceded that all biological functions might be brought to a stand still by chemical means. Speculation on this started way back in Russia in 1912 when scientist R Bakhmetyev coined the word “anabiosis”
A form of chemical anabiosis appears to exist in nature. Normally, life processes are most active during embryonic development but at normal temperatures during the embryonic development of certain species of fish, all biological functions are brought almost to a complete standstill for a period of about one year.
These embryos can quickly return to normal development. More research holds immense possibilities. They could open for man an unexpected door, through time, to a future Utopia exceeding our wildest dreams.