Wow, well, once again a VanFossen is in the news. This time, it’s amazing.
In this story in the Billings Gazette called Cooling Technique Prevents Brain Damage, Brent’s Uncle Gordon VanFossen was saved when a miracle of coincidences came together to save his life. While moving furniture in his home in Red Lodge, Montana, Gordon collapsed from a heart attack. His wife and friend did CPR on him for five minutes, but there was no heart beat they could detect. The emergency rescue team defibrillated him to restart his heart and rushed him to the nearby hospital.
In the hospital, a representative of Arctic Sun, a medical device that cools the body and the brain to permit the brain to have time to heal instead of fight off inflamation, was demonstrating the product to the officials of St. Vincent Hospital. The doctors there knew that with Gordon, they had an opportunity to immediately test drive the equipment.
And it worked. His body temperature was cooled to a hypothermia level and medication to induce temporary paralysis and a coma was given to keep him from shivering. Within 24 hours, they started to rewarm his body, and when he awoke, he opened his eyes and recognized people in the room. With breathing tubes down his throat, he managed to write “When was the wreck?”, thinking he had been in a car accident.
It took another two weeks of recovery and he was sitting up and speaking and seems absolutely fine. After less than a month, the doctors were finally confident to release him to go home on Friday.
With family spread out around the world, we were all worried about Gordon, calling and checking with each other, debating flying to Montana, and wishing the best for everyone there who had to deal with it. Never in our wildest dreams would we dream that his survival would be such big news and a good test of this new equipment.