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More and More, Paramedics Pack Cardiac-Arrest Patients In Ice

Posted Sep 16 2010 2:29pm

For several years, paramedics have watched intently as hospitals around the region reported miracles on ice: cardiac-arrest patients who were rapidly cooled in the ER and, against all odds, woke up a few days later perfectly normal.

Now rescue workers are icing heart-attack patients in the ambulance.

“The first time we used it,” last October, “the woman went home in 10 days,” said Bob A. Hotchkiss, chief of Southern Chester County Emergency Medical Services.

A handful of other paramedics south and west of Philadelphia have jumped into the icing business in the last 18 months: New Castle County, Del.’s countywide system; Longwood Fire Company; and Delaware County Memorial Hospital’s squad. Paramedics staffed by Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby began last month in the eight towns they cover, the same day as New York City.

Many more, including Philadelphia Fire Department paramedics, have discussed doing it.

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