Rare Hypothermic Treatment Helps Save Local Veterinarian

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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March 2, 2011

February 11th is a day Dr. John Brooks can't necessarily remember, but perhaps won't ever forget. It's the day the well-known Wichita veterinarian arrived at the emergency room comatose, after going into cardiac arrest.

"He was suffering a major heart attack, and he was totally comatose with no response at all," said Wesley Medical Center Cardiologist Dr. Assem Farhat, MD.

So Brooks' doctors made a quick decision, to try a rare new procedure never completed at Wesley Medical Center before. The staff slowly lowered Dr. Brooks' temperature down to between 90 and 93 degrees, forcing him into a hypothermic state to preserve his brain cells and cut down on the chance for brain damage. It's a treatment Brooks hadn't even heard of before he woke up about two days after his heart attack.

"I'm very fortunate that I was one of the first people to be involved in this," said Brooks.

He is fortunate, according to doctors who say Brooks was eligible for the treatment because an off-duty firefighter noticed him hunched over in his car and started CPR immediately. Immediate care is one of the main requirements for the procedure.

"It's not something that we use everyday, we have to be selective," said Farhat.

Now, Brooks is eager to go back to being a doctor, rather than a patient. It's something he may not have even been around to do without the quick thinking and precise care he received.

"Death is not a good alternative. We want to become 100% recovered," said Brooks.

Doctors say Brooks will probably get his 100% recovery with the help of therapy.

Via Christi Hospital has also been performing the procedure over the past several months.


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