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Back from the dead.

  • Fong, Kevin.
  • Videos

About this work


Presented by anaesthetist Kevin Fong, this ocumentary looks at the use of extreme cooling during surgical procedures. We hear how Anna, trapped under ice with no heartbeat for over two hours, was dramatically brought back to life. Fong meets Anna Bagenholm and she recounts what she remembers of the incident. Anna represented a possibility that there could be a kind of 'no man's land' between life and death. At Yale-New Haven Hospital, they use extreme hypothermia, a process called deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, to make some feats of surgery possible. Dr John Elefteriades operates on patient Esmail Dezhbod as he has an operation to treat a life-threatening abdominal aneurysm using this hypothermic process. Can this technique be used in situations away from the operating theatre? Could trauma victims, who are losing blood, be frozen until they reach hospital to receive treatment? Massachusetts General Hospital has one of the most advanced emergency trauma units in the world. Dr Hasan Alam believes that hypothermia might enable staff to save more lives. Lance Becker of Pennsylvania University describes his research into how and why cells die; his theories are illustrated with some vividly coloured microscopic images of cells such as mitochondria. Baby Riley was born with no heart beat but with a combination of hypothermia and new drug therapy doctors manage to revive him. There is clearly new hope for patients who find themselves in the 'no man's land' between life and death.


BBC 2, 2010.

Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL.


Broadcast on 27 September, 2010

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Sophie Robinson.

Copyright note




  • English

Where to find it

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