May 23, 2014

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Suspended Animation Goes Primetime: Say Goodbye To Death As We Know It.

As of March 29, 2014, a team of surgeons trained in this saline-cooling procedure is on emergency call at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In this field trial of the technique, patients who arrive at the hospital after having suffered cardiac arrest after traumatic injury (i.e. gunshots) and do not respond to attempts to restart their heart will be cooled with saline to about 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). Their cellular activity will stop. They will be “clinically dead.” But—if doctors can repair the trauma in roughly two hours—they are still capable of being revived.

In itself, this is amazing. This is two hours of suspended animation—which has been the stuff of sci-fi for almost a century. Today it’s scientific fact.

But where things get really interesting is what happens tomorrow. As the technology progresses, it is not too much of a stretch to say those two hours of suspended animation will give way to four hours and eight hours and sooner or later whole days and weeks and months—in other words, we’ll have mastered artificial hibernation.

Faster, please.