Doctors In Maryland Froze Humans Into Suspended Animation For The First Time

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Doctors In Maryland Froze Humans Into Suspended Animation For The First Time

One of the biggest challenges facing humans venturing into deep-space is that we would either run out of food and resources or age too much (if we were going very far) to make it on a really, really, long journey. We all remember the crew members famously in the film Alien being in 'suspended animation' – essentially going into a coma-like sleep – in order to travel to other planets. Now scientists think we may be one step closer to achieving that goal.


Samuel Tisherman, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has led a team that has actually put a human being into suspended animation. However, it isn't going to be used for deep space travel, just yet at least, it is going to be used to assist surgery on patients.



Tisherman has told New Scientist that a living human has had their blood replaced with an ice-cold saline solution freezing them to an extremely cold temperature (10-15C compared to a normal temperature of 37C), so that surgery could be performed. Once the two-hour operation was completed, the patient was then unfrozen and reanimated.


While it was unclear who the surgery was performed on or what injury they had sustained, Tisherman says he is going to go fully public with the breakthrough in a scientific paper later in 2020.


The procedure means that 'life is on hold' for severely injured patients and that surgeons and trauma doctors have longer to save their life. Tisherman spoke of those he wished he had previously been able to save if such a procedure had already existed, including the story of a young man who, after being stabbed, didn't have enough time to make it to surgery:


"He was a healthy young man just minutes before, then suddenly he was dead. We could have saved him if we'd had enough time. I want to make clear that we're not trying to send people off to Saturn. We're trying to buy ourselves more time to save lives."


The procedure had the approval of the FDA and was allowed to proceed without the patient's consent as there was simply no other way to save their life.


While this is an amazing medical breakthrough, we can only imagine that many will now be seeing the possibility of 'putting life on hold' or suspended-animation put to other uses – including space travel. Who knows, maybe in 50 years we will be telling our grandchildren about the time we first learned someone had been frozen and unfrozen again.


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Thinking Humanity: Doctors In Maryland Froze Humans Into Suspended Animation For The First Time
Doctors In Maryland Froze Humans Into Suspended Animation For The First Time
One of the biggest challenges facing humans venturing into deep-space is that we would either run out of food and resources or age too much (if we were going very far) to make it on a really, really, long journey. We all remember the crew members famously in the film Alien being in 'suspended animation' – essentially going into a coma-like sleep – in order to travel to other planets. Now scientists think we may be one step closer to achieving that goal.
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