A team of doctors in Pittsburgh are getting ready to start testing a procedure to put patients in a state of "suspended animation" while they repair their injuries. Or in other words, kill them and then bring them back to life.

This method has been practiced before. Called "emergency preservation", it buys a patient some time in the event of some massive trauma. It quickly cools the body down to temperatures as low as 50-degrees Fahrenheit, stopping almost all cellular activity. "We are suspending life, but we don't like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction," says Samuel Tisherman who's leading the study in Pittsburgh.

The process involves replacing all of the patients' blood with a cold saline solution, and during this, the patient will show no signs of life, no brain activity, and in clinical terms, he's dead. The process of resuscitation happens when doctors pump blood back into his body to bring the body temperature back up. They can remain in this state of suspended animation for hours.

Suspended animation hasn't been tested on humans, but Dr. Hasam Alam from Harvard Medical School has demonstrated it on pigs in 2002. By 2010, he was ready to test it on humans but it has yet to happen.

The solution will be coming soon to a hospital, and the team at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh is on call and waiting for their first candidate to perform the procedure on.

Suspended animation could end up saving tons of lives, if done successfully. Let's just hope they bring back the same person. [New Scientist]