Methodist University Hospital Expands Use of Therapeutic Hypothermia for SCA Survivors

Methodist University Hospital Expands Use of Therapeutic Hypothermia for SCA Survivors

MEMPHIS–A “cool” new treatment is responsible for saving the
life of 63-year-old Isaac Turner last December. “It saved him, no question,” said Bruce
Wilson, M.D., a cardiologist with Methodist University Hospital. Methodist
is the first hospital in West Tennessee to offer
therapeutic cooling therapy for cardiac arrest patients who meet particular


Methodist plans to implement cooling therapy in its other
three adult hospitals in the Memphis area, Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown
Hospital, Methodist North Hospital, and Methodist South Hospital. All four
hospitals are certified chest pain centers which brings high-level cardiac care
to patients in all corners of our community which is vitally important when
treating heart attacks.

“Bottom line is therapeutic cooling therapy can help us save
more lives.” said Paul Deaton, M.D., medical director of the Methodist
University Hospital intensive care unit. “It can mean the difference between
losing a patient or leaving them in a vegetative state versus being able to
send them home to resume their lives.”

Turner collapsed while performing during a church service.
When paramedics arrived, he was turning blue around the mouth from lack of
oxygen and paramedics pronounced he was dead. They immediately shocked him
several times in an effort to restart his heart. Paramedics were able to get
Turner’s heart beating again and took him directly to Methodist University

Once Turner entered the emergency room, medical staff
quickly went to work. They discussed a new protocol with his family called Dr.
Ice that might help save Turner’s life. It involves dropping a patient’s body
temperature about eight degrees Fahrenheit below normal. The purpose of cooling
patients down is to help prevent or reduce the amount of brain damage from the
loss of oxygen.

“I’ve heard about this cooling therapy being at some of the
big hospitals in the country,” said Turner’s oldest daughter Arbedella.
“Absolutely without a doubt my father would not be here if it was not for this
cooling therapy.”

Cooling therapy works by chilling patients for 24 hours
under careful observation in the intensive care unit and then rewarming them
for another 12 to 24 hours. There are several methods to cool patients
including saline drips and cold catheters. Methodist University Hospital uses
cooling blankets to lower a patient’s body temperature.

“We are using the external cooling system so we can begin
treating patients as soon as possible while we assess the intravascular cooling
devices,” said Dr. Deaton.

Albirtha, Turner’s wife of 44 years, is thankful that
Methodist University Hospital offered the technology needed to save her
husband’s life. “I’m glad they have it because they said he could be brain
damaged,” said Albirtha. She and Isaac met in the fourth grade and have been
sweethearts ever since. And, thanks to the medical advances of therapeutic
cooling therapy, Albirtha and Isaac will be sweethearts for years to come.

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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