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Boy Who Plunged Through Ice Dies

December 19, 1985

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A 9-year-old boy who spent 45 minutes under water in an icy pond died today, two days after being rescued and placed in a drug-induced coma, officials said.

Randy Ketcham, a spokesman for Children’s Hospital, said Jeremy Ghiloni died at 7:42 a.m. of cardiac failure. The boy’s parents, Monica and Thomas Kashner, were at his side, Ketcham said.

″There were just too many strikes against him,″ said Dr. James Kilman, chief of thoracic surgery at Children’s Hospital.

Ketcham said tests Wednesday showed Jeremy’s heart muscle was not functioning properly ″and frankly the cardiac failure resulted from the fact there had been so much damage to the heart.″

″Frankly, the only reason we got him as far as we did was the excellent care he received from the time he was rescued until the time of death.″

The boy fell through thin ice and into a pond near a school bus stop on Tuesday. Other students alerted nearby residents, who called emergency workers.

The boy was pulled from the 10-feet-deep waters moments after paramedics arrived and subsequently revived. Officials estimated he had been under water about 45 minutes.

Jeremy was taken first to Licking Memorial Hospital in Newark and then to Children’s Hospital in Columbus, about 30 miles to the west.

He was placed in a ″barbituric coma″ to reduce damage to his brain. Before his death, his heart beat on its own while his breathing was controlled by artificial means, said Kilman.

Kilman said that in his 20 years there, the hospital had treated three cases of hypothermia, all caused by exposure to cold air, but Jeremy’s case was the first caused by immersion in water.

Hypothermia is subnormal body temperature that causes the slowing of body functions. None of the three cases treated at the hospital previously was as severe as Jeremy’s, he said.

Asked what doctors could do for Jeremy while he was in the induced coma, Kilman replied, ″A lot of praying.″

He said Jeremy’s body temperature was about 80 degrees when he was taken to the hospital. To raise Jeremy’s temperature, doctors used a heart-bypass machine, which draws blood from the body, warms it, then returns it to the body. Kilman said that Jeremy’s body temperature was kept at 96 degrees.

He said the procedure is not uncommon in the treatment of exposure victims.

Dr. Edward J. Kosnik, a pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital, said it would have been days - maybe weeks - before doctors could determine whether Jeremy suffered any brain damage.

Kosnik had said Jeremy would be brought out of the drug-induced coma later this week.

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