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FOX 5 Medical Team

Baby saved by Therapeutic Hypothermia treatment

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It was a terrifying few minutes in a Texas delivery room.

Taylar Nelson could see her baby, Genesis Davis, was showing no signs of life. She wasn't breathing, or crying, or making any noise at all. As the minutes ticked on, Nelson could feel hope slipping away.

But Genesis' story has a happy ending, thanks to some fast-thinking doctors and nurses. They used a simple body-cooling technique that likely saved the newborn's life.

Two weeks after that scary day, the sound of Genesis crying in the Texas Christian Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is music to Taylar Nelson's ears.

She says, "I'm grateful, very thankful."

Because when Genesis was born at a hospital in Nagodoches, she move, or make a sound. As Nelson grew alarmed, she remembers, "I seen nurses running back and forth and hear code blue, that's not normal." She was right. Because of complications, Genesis went for four minutes without oxygen.

Turning blue, but still alive, the baby and her grandmother were airlifted to Texas Children's in Houston.

Tamala Timmons says "The range of emotions I had was I'm losing my grandbaby, and this time, I don't know what I'm gonna say to my daughter."

Taylar Nelson, who had to stay behind because she'd just given birth, says, "I was thinking in my head after all this, after all this pushing and going through all this, I don't want to lose her.. it was hard for me."

Miles away, in Texas Children's NICU, Genesis underwent something called "whole body cooling," In medical lingo, it's called, "Therapeutic Hypothermia." You cool the body – to slow down a dangerous chain-reaction happening in the brain.

Genesis' brain was reeling from the trauma of being cut off from blood flow and oxygen during her delivery.

Dr. Jeffrey Kaiser says, whole body cooling – can protected injured brain cells. But, he says, "It's completely a race against time."

For three days, Dr. Kaiser and his team used a water-filled cooling blanket to drop Genesis' body temperature to about 92 degrees Fahrenheit. This helped to slow down her body's metabolism.

Dr. Kaiser explains, "The cells that would've died, kind of go to sleep, the cooling causes the metabolism of the brain to kind of shut down, so those cells that would've died don't die."

Therapeutic hypothermia has become standard in many NICU's. It's also used for some adults who suffer a stroke, a heart attack or a spinal cord injury. For Genesis, it worked.

Amazingly, when the cooling was complete, an MRI of the baby's brain showed it was "normal."

Taylar Nelson hopes sharing their story will give other parents hope. She says" Stay positive through the whole process. Even when you're going through it, stay positive. I already was close with God, and I have a lot of faith, but it just grew it stronger."

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