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Special cooling blanket helps save premature babies

As parents, we want to warm and cuddle our newborns, but a new technology at Sacred Heart Hospital does just the opposite.
A "cooling blanket" is helping the sickest premature babies born there.

Channel Three's Kathryn Daniel shows us how it works.

Last august, Amber Gore was rushed into an emergency c-section delivery a month before her son was due.
"About one hour and a half into my recovery, the NICU doctor came in and said, 'I'm very sorry to have to tell you this, Mason may not make it.'"
   
Gore's placenta had pulled away from her uterus, depriving Mason of oxygen and nutrients.
"The way the doctor put it to us was he was slowly dying."
   
Another 30 minutes, Mason would've been stillborn.  
He was still in big trouble, but doctors had an option.
"At this point, the best chance is to get on that cooling blanket."
   
Neonatologist, Doctor Tony Hampton, says "whole body cooling" brings a baby's body temperature down to between 91 and 93 degrees.
He says the chilling prevents secondary injuries to the brain and other organs.

"That tissue that's damaged doesn't further break down and release all the chemicals that further destroy other tissues."
"It's like a pause button.  It's gonna slow any damage to his body down while we're in fast motion fixing it."
"We have to start the cooling within six hours, that's the protocol."
       
Before Sacred Heart bought the blanket, Hampton had to send babies who needed the cooling blanket to Birmingham or Gainesville. 
Babies stay on the blanket for 72 hours and are then slowly warmed up. The warming up process can be tricky, but Mason did fine with that, and has done beautifully since.

"Without the blanket, he would've done very badly."
   
Gore was told Mason might not walk or talk, and possibly be blind and or deaf. Instead, the  8-month-old is hitting every milestone. Gore is one grateful mama.

"I can't even say how thankful I am for that cooling blanket."
   
Kathryn Daniel, Channel Three News.