Oxygen starved baby frozen for 3 days, survives
Fri, 04 Mar 2011 12:36p.m.
A baby boy starved of oxygen during his birth has survived after medics cooled his brain for three days.
Jamie Merricks was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his throat.
This prevented him from breathing resulting in damage to his brain after it was starved of oxygen.
But doctors at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham utilised a radical new treatment whereby they cooled Jamie down to well below normal body temperature.
The treatment involved a machine called a Tecotherm Neo, which uses cooling fluid, similar to that used in a car, in a mat onto which the baby is placed.
The baby's temperature is monitored via a probe, allowing the machine to make continual temperature adjustments.
Jamie was on the cooling machine for three days, keeping his temperature between 33 and 34 degrees Centigrade.
Normal human body temperature is 37 degrees centigrade.
His relieved mother told UK broadcaster Sky News that Jamie had been shivering after his birth with just a nappy on.
"They were desperately trying to cool his body temperature down because it couldn't quite reach the, below the 34 degrees that they needed," she said.
"So they got all the windows open and the poor little soul was shivering on the mat. But within a few hours he was down to the perfect temperature and he seemed really settled."
The treatment was inspired by the experiences of climbers who had been trapped, but had endured freezing conditions.
Jamie's doctor believes the new treatment is the biggest breakthrough in the care of newborns in the last 20 years.
Neonatal consultant Vidya Garikapati said cooling the brain decreased the metabolism, helping it to recover and limiting the damage.
Click the video link above to watch the full report on Ella Anderson. She was still born, but doctors refused to give up on her. After 45 minutes of battling they got a heartbeat - the next challenge was to prevent devastating brain damage. The solution was to cool her body right down. Nine months later, she has made a remarkable recovery.
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