X-Message-Number: 20160
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 17:45:02 EDT
Subject: Pre-death cooling

Hello All:

I've been reading about procedures and have a question.

Would it make sense to cool the brain of someone near death?  That is, when 
someone was within an hour or so of heart stoppage, to place the head in an 
ice bath, with just the face out.  Thus, on heart stoppage, the brain might 
have 45 minutes or so before damage set in.

Let's imagine the death of a woman with terminal cancer.  She is known to be 
near death, but in the morning she is coherent.  She slips into delirium and 
sleep, and in the afternoon the nurses hear the death rattle and summon the 
family.  She is on oxygen, but has a no-special-methods order in her living 
will.  So the tubes are removed and she expires after just two or three 
breaths.  I believe this is the way death often comes. It is promising for 
freezing the brain without deterioration.

Under such circumstances it would seem ideal to cool the head before removing 
the oxygen.  Then to have a doctor listen for the heart to stop, and 
immediately sign the death certificate.  And then, just a minute later, 
starting cooldown.  Even in this country (the USA) I think that would be 

Has this been considered to allow freezing with minimum damage?


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