Earlier this year, the FDA approved Dr. Peter Rhee’s experimental suspended animation method for use in clinical trials with human subjects. The technique is intended as a last resort for patients with traumatic injuries requiring more time for surgery than the patient has left to live under normal conditions. Now Dr. Rhee has received funding from the Army for a feasibility phase of testing, and he’s seeking funding for a full trial which may begin as early as next year. So if you were planning on getting shot in the aorta anytime soon, try to reschedule it for a later date.
Dr. Rhee’s technique involves slowing a patient’s general metabolic functions with the injection of a cold fluid which induces severe hypothermia and causes suspended animation, “when you are no longer alive but you are not dead” as Rhee describes it, which totally didn’t make me scream “zombie apocalypse” and hide under a blanket.
Dr. Rhee’s method involves injecting patients with a cold fluid that would bring the body’s temperature down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C). Sounds chilling, but when he induced the extreme hypothermia in pigs they came out just fine. Heart function, breathing, and brain function was completely normal. [SingularityHub]
Dr. Rhee hasn’t only been successful treating animals. He was also one of the surgeons who saved US Representative Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head last January. He used a device to cool her skin when her body temperature raised to a dangerous level. Rhee has also served in the Navy as one of the first surgeons at Camp Rhino, and he later started the first surgical unit in Ramadi, Iraq. He is cooler than you.
Other doctors are also working on suspended animation studies, which you can read about at SingularityHub. Take me out of suspended animation (by which I mean blacked out, reeking of scotch, with my face mashed against the keyboard) when they figure out hypersleep.