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Argentine 'miracle' baby

  1. Apr 11, 2012 #1
    The baby was put in a morgue freezer for 10 hours!?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2012 #2
  4. Apr 12, 2012 #3


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    Sounds to me like there's nothing to debunk here; but what a distrubing way to come into the world- in a small wooden coffin in a freezer! :frown:
  5. Apr 12, 2012 #4
    Could a naked mature human survive in a fridge for 10 hours?
  6. Apr 12, 2012 #5
    Turns out it can't..:-(
  7. Apr 12, 2012 #6


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    Chrildren are able to survive more severe drops in body temperature for reasons I'm not clear on. There seem to be several examples of children's hearts restarting multiple hours after stopping while in severe hypothermic states (child falls into frozen lake, child wanders off in snow storm, etc.) I'm not saying it's common or that there's a 100% survival rate, but it does happen.

    The wooden coffin may have also been able to supply some insulating effect in the fridge if the child's metabolism was putting out some minimal amount of heat.
  8. Apr 12, 2012 #7


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    They were citing another case in that portion of the news article. Still, a premature baby at 1.something pounds has a pretty small chance of survival... more due to infection risk though.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  9. Apr 12, 2012 #8


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    Some extreme examples from the NIH:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17096105][Severe[/PLAIN] [Broken] accidental hypothermia with cardiac arrest and extracorporeal rewarming. A case report of a 2-year-old child].

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18409118][Case[/PLAIN] [Broken] report: severe hypothermia in a newborn infant - challenges in preclinical emergency medicine].

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17690748][Accidental[/PLAIN] [Broken] deep hypothermia with cardiac arrest. Prompt complete recovery after rewarming by extracorporeal circulation. Case report.]

    There's a funny conclusion in the 30-yr old's case too (emphasis added):
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Apr 12, 2012 #9
    My thoughts:

    Refrigerators are always above freezing. The point is to only keep the temperature low enough that bacteria become dormant and don't multiply. A fridge shouldn't cause tissue damage.

    Newborns often don't spontaneously breathe for a while. Their oxygen has always come from blood shared with the mother. The transition from that to breathing, to taking in their own oxygen, is probably longer than people think, and is probably dependent on how much muscle movement the baby initiates itself. A three month premature baby may not move much at all in the womb, and it's oxygen requirements would be pretty much limited to keeping it's heart beating.

    Putting the baby in the fridge probably greatly reduced its immediate need for oxygen without being cold enough to kill it.

    Still, I wonder if there won't be long term brain damage. I guess that would depend on whether it was actually breathing all along, just too slowly to be seen.
  11. Apr 12, 2012 #10


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    A new or relatively new procedure for babies born with possible ( possible is my term as the requirements for the treatment would have to be accessed and determined by the team of doctors ) damage to brain tissue by lowering the infants body temperature to 33 C, or by using a cap on the infants head to lower only the brain tissue temperature. Subsequently, the metabolism of the brain is lowered and the damaged cells are given more time to self-repair without accumulated side effects of glucose, radicals, calcium etc on brain and nerve tissue.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothermia_therapy_for_neonatal_encephalopathy

    A human brain if deprived of oxygen for a time frame of 10 seconds or less will result in the subject loosing consciousness. Deprived of oxygen for something for less than 3 minutes, the brain will begin to suffer damage and if sustained will be unrepairable. Hypothermia treatment be it either induced clincally or accidentally will extend the 3 minute period. Infants and small children can survive an accidental lowering of body temperature mainly because of lower body mass with more rapid, complete and even cooling than that in an adult - ie the core and blood temperature.

    While all drowning victims in frigid waters do not survive, it is apparant that due to the water in the lungs oxygen intake is nil. Temperature of the body would have to greatly reduced so as to slow metabolism to a value compatable with minimal available oxygen.

    Since the baby in question would have to have been declaired dead with no apparant heart beat or breathing function immediately after birth, the cold temperature of the morgue probably saved her/his life, and the time spent at the colder temperature allowed some of the body functions to climatize to being out of the womb.
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