Advanced Cooling Therapy Used In Recovery From Drowning, Cardiac Arrest
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- He could have easily become a statistic.
But one local man has made a remarkable comeback from a near-death experience thanks to some extraordinary care and perseverance.
A little over a year ago, 23-year-old Ronnie Josh Davis' life was forever changed.
"It was just a regular summer night, just hanging out with some friends," Davis recalls.
A regular night in May of 2013 that took a dark turn when Davis was found, by his friends, unresponsive and underwater.
"I honestly don't remember the last time in the pool," he says.
Surveillance video from that night shows then 22-year-old Davis was swimming at an apartment pool when he began flailing and sank to the bottom.
He was underwater almost three minutes before being pulled out by friends who immediately began CPR. Gainesville Police arrived and paramedics rushed in to help. Davis was taken to the ER at North Florida Regional Medical Center, where Dr. Adam Friedlander and a critical care team worked to revive him.
After several hours, Davis was stabilized. But, having been without oxygen for more than 10 minutes, questions remained about what damage he would sustain.
"If there's an ounce of hope you hold on to that hope," Josh's dad, Ronnie Davis, said in an interview last year, "you hold each other and you pray a lot."
To protect his brain, doctors cooled Davis' body with a technique known as therapeutic hypothermia.
"We get the temperature to go low, as low as the 91°f which is pretty cold - normal body temperature is 98.7°f. So we get patients to actively bring their body temperatures down to about 91°f, we keep them there for anywhere between 24 to 36 hrs, and then very slowly very carefully rewarm them," Friedlander explains, "we've shown, really by reasons we don't completely understand, that by cooling somebody's body temperature down that low you protect the brain."
Amazingly, Davis recovered. Not only did he get back to everyday life, but also to his hobby of dirt bike racing. He was paralyzed in his left arm from a vehicle accident when he was younger, and but he was inspired after his near drowning to get back into racing.
Recently, he was presented with a new bike built just for him that can be controlled with only one arm. He's now racing through life with a new appreciation of just how lucky he is.
"It was a combination of good deeds and good people that helped saved my life," he says.
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