Buffalo Bills' Everett May Walk Again
Football Player Kevin Everett May Have Better Prognosis Due to Swift Hypothermia Treatment
Hypothermia Treatment: Too Rare?
Hypothermia treatment is used in some U.S. hospitals to help treat heart
attacks and strokes.
"We just had a patient here at Jackson [Memorial Hospital] a couple days
ago who had a major stroke following a cardiac procedure, and they pulled the
clot out and they gave him hypothermia, and he's walking and talking normally
today," Green says.
But hypothermia treatment isn't routinely used for spinal cord injury, Green
Everett's case may change all that.
"It just makes us think that all the paramedics in America should be
keeping this iced saline in an ambulance," Green says.
"In Australia, all the paramedics carry these iced saline bottles in
their ambulances because they treat all the heart attack victims. ...,"
Green says. "We use it in the ICU in Jackson for newborns who have
brain damage, we use it for heart attack victims at Jackson, we're using it for
spinal injury, brain injury.
"It's a wonderful tool to have. And the beauty of it, for us, is that it
was developed by our basic scientists 20 years ago and ... now it's now used
all over the world."
Spinal Hypothermia Treatment
Hypothermia treatment for injuries such as Everett's is still considered
experimental. Green and colleagues are gathering data on its use.
"But in the meantime, this happened [Everett's treatment], and we're not
going to deny it happened," Green says.
The hypothermia technique probably is better suited to some patients than to
"For example, a gunshot wound that blows through the cord or someone
that has a total severance of their cord is less likely to respond than someone
who's in a football injury," says Green.
There are "definitely a lot of factors, but the truth is, a lot of
people don't need to be sitting in wheelchairs," says Green. "We hope
we can gain enough attention through what happened to Kevin Everett to get
other people the same type [of] opportunities."
Green has also used the same hypothermia technique on spinal tumors.
"Yesterday I took out a huge spinal cord tumor, a 10-hour operation, and
I never could have done it without hypothermia because it protected the cord
while I was pushing on it and pulling on the tumor. This guy would have ended
up very weak, if not in a wheelchair, and he's walking around," Green
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has been a major contributor to the Miami
Project to Cure Paralysis for the past decade, and Everett played for the
University of Miami's football team, Green notes.
"We're very grateful that Ralph Wilson believes in medical
research," Green says.