In a survival story his doctors call extraordinary, a 22-month-old Pennsylvania boy whose lifeless body was pulled from an icy creek was revived after an hour and 41 minutes of CPR and has suffered virtually no lingering effects. Gardell Martin came home from the hospital on Sunday, and his doctors said today he has made a full recovery. "It's not only extraordinarily rare that we got the kid back, but what's even more extraordinary is the rate at which he recovered and the completeness of his recovery," said Dr. Frank Maffei, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Geisinger's Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville. Gardell and two of his brothers had gone outside to play on March 11 when he fell into the stream that runs through their 5-acre property near Mifflinburg.
A neighbor found Gardell nearly a quarter-mile away, caught up in a tree branch and water gushing around him. An ambulance crew arrived moments later, found no pulse, and began CPR. Resuscitation would continue, unbroken, for 101 minutes—in the ambulance, at a community hospital, aboard a medical helicopter and, finally, in the emergency room of Janet Weis. Gardell's body temperature was 77 degrees when he arrived, more than 20 degrees below normal. In this case, the boy's hypothermia worked to his advantage, slowing his metabolism and giving his organs "some degree of protection from cardiac arrest," Maffei said. Knowing that, Maffei ordered CPR to continue while the team warmed his body. At around 82 degrees, they detected a pulse.