NYC to promote cooling therapy for patients

December 4, 2008 4:27:40 PM PST
Important information for anyone who has a heart attack in New York City. Beginning January 1, patients who suffer a heart attack will no longer be taken to the nearest hospital.

Instead, they will go to hospitals with special so called body cooling units.

It is a new medical technology that doctors say boosts survival rates. Some hospital officials told The New York Times the shift would put smaller hospitals at a disadvantage because they may not have the sometimes expensive equipment to perform cooling therapy.

The treatment, called therapeutic hypothermia, is not available in most city hospitals. Only 20 of the 59 hospitals with emergency rooms say they will be able to provide the therapy by the deadline.

The Fire Department's chief medical officer said it would be irresponsible not to provide the therapy because scientific data shows the survival rate of cardiac patients is much better with it.