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Refrigeration - saving Lives

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have grown accustomed over the years to the look of incomprehension, followed by an embarrassing silence and a diverting of eyes, after I answer the question 'what do you do for a living?'

It has been said many times that this industry is one modern life's best kept secrets and that society in general has no understanding of what we actually do as a profession, even though we come in to contact with our industry's products or the results of them throughout our daily lives.

It is as if there is a society blind-spot in which the ACR industry has become obscured from view. Alternatively, people simply do not care and have little interest in what we as an industry do. Either way, I have found that when confronted with an actual person who works within the ACR industry, the average person is lost for words.

So, imagine my surprise when at a function last night, a man stepped forward upon hearing what I do for a living and shook my hand enthusiastically saying "You guys saved my daughter's life".
He later explained that his daughter had been saved from brain damage following a head injury which resulted in neurogenic fever. His daughter had been treated by a process called therapeutic hypothermia.

Quite a fascinating story and an interesting treatment. I learned that as well treating patients that have an abnormally high fever due to traumatic brain injury (as in this case), this medical treatment lowers a person's body temperature in order to reduce the risk of injury to tissues and organs following a period of insufficient blood flow such as in the case of heart attack or stroke. I was fascinated, and a quick search of the internet later, revealed other uses for the treatment such as treating neonatal asphyxia (lack of oxygen before birth).

I understand that the cooling of the patient can be achieved in a number of ways including cooling cathethers, water blankets, and gel conductive pads.

I found an amazing story on the web of a 56 year old man who was 'Dead on Arrival' at a hospital after suffering cardiac arrest. Therapeutic hypothermia played a huge part in his treatment. Amazingly, he was able to return to work fully functional several months later.

I have said before in this blog, that refrigeration plays a major part in people's lives. It seems that it is a life-saver too, in the truest sense of the word.

If any of the readers are involved in supplying these cooling units to hospitals, I would be very interested in hearing from you.
View User Profile for SteveGill Steve Gill has worked in the ACR industry for over 30 years as a contractor and consultant. He is a member of the Institute of Refrigeration Executive Council and a former Director of ACRIB. He was the winner of the ACR News `Consultant of the Year Award` in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
Posted by Steve Gill 19 July 2012 14:16:40 Categories: Fresh Talk


By Steve Gill
19 July 2012 14:21:40
The application of refrigeration is so widely used that there is of course many aspects to this discussion. For example, industrial chillers are used in the process of making latex, which has many uses, one of which is condoms. So, perhaps it could be argued that refrigeration is used in the prevention of life too!
By Chris Smith
19 July 2012 14:20:40
Hello Justin I like this. Steve Gill started off this thread with how refrigeration helps to save lives. Mine, sadly though I neglected to mention it, was concerned more with what happens after life is over. I.e. Mortuary Chambers, and now you are contributing with how refrigeration is used both in the creation and prevention of life. Ours would definitely make a good dinner party. Especially if other guests at the table were to be enlightened about how everything they consume in order to survive has been refrigerated on average five times 'between field and plate'. Not a lot of people know that.
By Justin Scofield
19 July 2012 14:19:40
Every one of us in the industry has a story to tell, we just need to find the right forum and a manner in which to tell it. Perhaps if it wasn t such a secret the industry s profile would improve for all of us. As to me I would tell the tale around the dinner table of supplying equipment to the sex trade! Refrigeration equipment for the production of Viagra, condoms and even the morning after pill!
Keep up the Blog a good addition to the ACR Newsletter.
By Steve Gill
19 July 2012 14:18:40
Thanks Chris for the kind comments and for taking the time to post a comment.
I often have people who when I meet them say that they have read the blog but few take the time to leave a comment here.
It is interesting that you supply so many RAC companies world wide and yet as you say, the general public have no concept of what you do.
As for pork being close to human for data purposes, I can only say that my wife would agree with that as she said that I was looking a little 'porky' recently. Would a diet and exercise change my composition to more beef like charactistics? :)
By Chris Smith
19 July 2012 14:17:40
A very illuminating and well written story Steve. I often enjoy reading your 'blogs', I think is the fashionable term. This one in particular I found really interesting. You also 'hit a nail' very firmly on the head. When I explain to people what we do, supply application engineering software to the world's (and I DO mean 'world's') RAC industry people either express surprise or tell me we won't succeed. When I then follow this with "Then you had better let the 15,000 RAC companies in 107 countries know that and whom we have been supplying for the past 26 years." You can imagine the subsequent expression on their faces. Incidentally, we generally use the thermal properties for beef rather than pork for human flesh when computing for the medical profession! It's closer it seems and surprisingly no one has ever managed to provide us with more accurate data! I invite comment and would welcome correction!
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