“Lazarus Tot” Gore Otteson Revived with Therapeutic Cooling

Toddler Gore Otteson wasn't breathing when he was found face-down in an irrigation ditch, but an experimental cooling technique brought him back to life.

2-year-old Gore Otteson disappeared from the family cabin on the evening of July 6th, while his mother was getting her other children dressed for bed. Immediately, she began to panic and search the grounds of their Gunnison, Colorado cabin. But it was 25 minutes before they found him—lying cold and pale, facedown, in a nearby irrigation ditch.

Gore wasn’t breathing. “He was just pale, like someone — frankly, someone that’s dead. And that’s what he was,” Gore’s grandfather, Dr. Kirk Fry, told The TODAY Show.

“I thought I had lost him,” said his mother, Amy Otteson. “I thought for almost an hour that he was dead.”

Gore’s family members began CPR on his cold body immediately, and called for an ambulance, but his chances seemed dim. His heart had stopped beating.

At the hospital, though, doctors restarted his heart, and then decided to try an experimental treatment in which the body temperature was lowered to 90 degrees, which they hoped would protect him from permanent brain damage.

As the doctors gradually brought Gore back up to normal body temperature, no one was sure what the toddler would be like, and if he would ever be a normal child again. But as soon as the boy opened his eyes, he signed the word “hungry,” using the symbol his parents had taught him.

An MRI exam was even more reassuring: there were absolutely no abnormalities. Several days later, Gore walked out of the hospital, as good as new.

The Ottesons have the experimental treatment to thank for their son’s good fortune. Therapeutic cooling has been shown to increase the odds of adult heart attack patients, but its effects on children were unknown. Fortunately for the Ottesons, science saved the day.

Check out this TODAY Show video about the family’s amazing story.

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