This medical video focuses on the medical treatment of cooling brains to help with brain treatments.
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Kathy Whitledge: I was leaving church. I was supposed to teach Sunday School class. I went across the street in a crosswalk and never saw a car coming at me. They hit me and threw me. I heard it was quite a ways that I got thrown. Jennifer Mathews: That day, doctors rushed Kathy Whitledge to the ER. She had severe head injuries. Marie Lancaster: She was thrown 360 feet over the car and landed on her head, had a skull fracture. Her brain had a midline shift all the way to one side. Jennifer Mathews: But six months later, Kathy is back to work at the same ICU unit she recovered in. Kathy Whitledge: I feel like it was a little miracle, and that's what everybody tells me. Jennifer Mathews: Doctor Michael Diringer says trauma patients like Kathy often develop fevers. Dr. Michael Diringer: We'll really see that their overall ability to function takes a hit when they, when their temperature goes up. Jennifer Mathews: In fact, every one degree increase in temperature causes the brain to work about 10% harder. Doctors used to use drugs like aspirin or even ice packs to keep patients cool, but now there's a better option. The cool Gard device delivers chilled saline through a catheter. The saline cools the blood in the body. As blood travels to the brain, temperature drops. Marie Lancaster: We can actually dial in what we want the patient's temperature to be and then maintain it at that steady state. Jennifer Mathews: Kathy had the cooling device and today has no permanent brain damage. Kathy Whitledge: I feel so lucky and fortunate. Jennifer Mathews: And now she can focus on spending time with the one she loves. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.