Your body contains approximately 5 liters of blood, and it needs a majority of those 5 liters to keep bodily functioning at a high. Your body also doesn’t like losing blood either – if you were shot without damaging any major organs, you’ll still have a high chance of dying from blood loss. This becomes especially important since not enough people get to the hospital after suffering traumatic injury. In many cases, they’ll be dead by the time they arrive. In fact, only 2 in 3 people who suffer traumatic injury survive the ambulance trip to the hospital.
This fact alone proves problematic as medical workers try to find ways on how to get injured people to the hospital as quickly as possible.
A new experimental procedure from Massachusetts General Hospital proposes a new solution: the replacement of blood with a cold electrolyte solution while en route to the hospital. It might sound weird, but apparently, most of the deaths that are accounted from fixable wounds die from hemorrhage – internal bleeding. However, this aims to directly combat that.
We’ve all learned in science how the cold makes things compress, like the blood vessels on a bruise when we apply a cold pack. This uses that sort of idea. When cold electrolytes circulate inside the body, it prevents any further damage from occurring. At the same time, the most important organs in the body, such as the brain and the heart, are also preserved. This gives the surgeon enough time to fix the injury, replace the blood, and re-start the heart.
However, the thing with this procedure is: as this is occurring, the injured person although not dead, isn’t really alive either. The heart stops, and most other bodily functions do as well. In essence, you’re semi-dead. There’s no guarantee you’re going to wake up.
Despite this, when you’re on a race against time, although not the best option, it might just put a dying person back up a couple notches, allowing for the doctor to try to fix the damage, before any more is done. It might just be necessary.
Although it sounds like the thing of science fiction, this might just save an extra life or two every day – and when it’s your loved one on the gurney, and you see his pulse flatten, wouldn’t you take desperate measures as well? Pray for a miracle.