Ironically, it may make sense to save a life by bringing it closer to death. The FDA has approved a procedure to induce a state of suspended animation via hypothermia. The research is now approved for clinical trials and the researcher is trying to gain funds to conduct a full trial.
What may at first seem like science fiction is actually taking advantage in the human body’s physiology. We have known for a good while that hypothermic drowning victims can often be revived with no long-term side effects.
By inducing a state of what Dr. Rhee, the doctor behind this research, describes as “you are no longer alive but you are not dead”, doctors can buy themselves more time for critical traumatic surgery. The logic is that by suspending the patient, you gain more time for surgery you need to save the patient’s life.
Dr. Rhee has done this research on pigs and has brought them back from this suspended state without adverse side effects. He is also the surgeon who operated on Representative Gabriel Gifford after the Tuscon shootings. In that operation, he had to remove part of her skull and use a device to cool the patient for her body temperature was high enough to have begun “cooking the brain”.
The article also mentions and alternate method of suspended animation induced by blocking oxygen. This method was inspired by the hibernation of animals.