Take a Chill

When someone says an outfielder in last nights baseball game had to be “cooled-down” we all assume his or her temper got out of hand. But Will Orndorff had no temper flare up the night his body had to be iced down.


Here’s the story:

“A violent collision in the outfield… and Will Orndorff’s heart stopped beating. Without hesitating, his coach started CPR and the EMT arrived with a defibrillator. Heartbeat restored! But at Winchester Medical Center the Strasburg teen wasn’t responding well, so doctors took a dramatic step. They iced Will’s body, lowering his temperature to 90°, slowing his system and giving it time to stabilize and rebound. 24 hours later, the medical team re-warmed Will and he woke — to the joy of family and friends — alert and healthy. Touched by teamwork, Will was back on the field soon, his heart pumping like a 17 year-old’s should.

In this month’s Virginia Business Magazine, Valley Health spotlighted this incredible story in an advertisement for their Winchester Medical Center. The science behind the interesting technique can be easily explained. In the simplest terminology, as humans, when we speed-up, we heat-up and when we slow down, we cool down.

We have all seen the medical dramas on television. Some one needs a heart transplant and a doctor flies across the country with a cooler filled with the organ on ice just in time to save the deserving patient’s life. But this dramatic portrayal of an organ transplant directly relates to the chilling encounter Orndorff experienced. Lowering his body temperature to 90 degrees allowed Orndorff’s heart, and entire system the time to recover, by literally icing and slowing his body. Although on a much larger scale, doctors chose to cool his body for the same reason we ice a single muscle, or even get into painfully cold ice-baths. A colder temperature slows the blood flow and swelling and allows the body to re-assess the situation before rushing blood and heat to an injured site.

The medical center should be thrilled with the outcome, so it is no surprise they are using the story in advertisements. But most importantly Orndorff is healthy and thriving, a great ending to this ironically heart-warming tale!

Picture courtesy of Valley Health

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