Quick action, cold comfort heal a heart

The program, called therapeutic hypothermia, is currently only available at Albany Medical Center, although other local hospitals are in the process of bringing it to their institutions, Dailey said.

"I knew that the technology was available, and I knew we were in a position to do this," he said.

Dailey said the treatment begins with an induced coma, putting the brain on a sort of vacation. Phillips was then covered with cooling pads that went on top of his skin, the cooling measures never entering inside his body.

"It makes sense if you think about it," said Phillips. "If you ever bruise yourself, you put ice on it."

But Phillips' risk without the treatment was much more severe than a bruise. As he was told later at the hospital, only a small percentage of individuals who survive a cardiac arrest do so without any brain damage.

The cooling pads that lowered Phillips' body temperature to 91.4 degrees sought to prevent that damage.

The doctors were not sure of the results of the treatment until Phillips awoke three days later.

On Thursday, Feb. 12, Phillips stood with his wife and children, Nick, 11, and Alex, 6, before the Colonie Town Board, to help Town Supervisor Paula Mahan present the many EMS responders who helped him that night with citations for their efforts.

"Basically, I'm alive because of the actions of the chain of survival," said Phillips before the public and Town Board, after Colonie EMS Deputy Chief Peter Berry explained the "chain of survival" as a series of steps designated by the American Heart Association to use in an emergency cardiac situation. "I really owe you my life and that's a beautiful thing."

As he publicly thanked the EMS responders and Dailey, Phillips said, "These people saved my life. It's beyond Hollywood drama."

Phillips said he is feeling fine now, and in a couple of weeks his doctors should have the results on what caused his cardiac arrest.

For now, he said, he plans to focus on spending time with his family and continue cycling, one of his hobbies, which he said he will use to gauge his health.


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