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Patient Perspective: Kierra's Story

Cooling Blanket Provides Lifesaving Treatment for Infant

Charlotte Cain (of Sterling Heights ) expected a normal delivery when her baby daughter Kierra was born 10 years ago. But after a complicated delivery, doctors at DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital had to perform an emergency c-section. When Kierra was born, her father Benson recalls she was limp, motionless and suffering from oxygen deprivation. She had also suffered from two seizures.  Benson had to make an important decision while his wife was recovering involving an experimental technique that had to be performed within six hours of birth. The research conducted at Hutzel Women’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan might provide hope to baby Kierra, who was in critical condition. 

Fortunately for Kierra and her family, Seetha Shankaran, MD, division director of neonatal-perinatal medicine at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Hutzel Women’s Hospital, and distinguished professor of pediatrics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has led groundbreaking research on the use of therapeutic whole body cooling for infants who don’t receive enough oxygen or blood flow to the brain at birth.  The study involves the use of a cooling blanket to reduce a newborn’s temperature to about 92 degrees to reduce the risk of brain injury and possibly death. The lower temperature slows the rate of cell damage and other effects of lack of oxygen. After 72 hours, the baby is gradually warmed to a normal body temperature. 

The technique made the difference for Kierra, who according to her mother Charlotte, is now a vibrant, observant and healthy 10-year-old girl.































Seetha Shankaran, MD
Director, Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine
Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics
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Learn more about Neonatal Intensive Care
at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
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