Mike Grannis visits Torrance Memorial’s ICU, where CODE ICE saved his life.
For Mike Grannis, 71, December 7, 2012 was a day for meeting new people.
In the morning he met his newborn grandchild, Michael Grannis, in the mother/
baby unit at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. He and his wife, Diana,
then paid a visit to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where Mike, Sr. thanked
the staff for saving his life just one month prior. He doesn’t remember
much of his 10-day stay at Torrance Memorial. So for him, the visit was
like meeting many of the staff who had cared for him for the first time.
November 12, one month prior, began just like any other day for Mike, who
considered himself in pretty good health, having never been hospitalized.
As he sat watching a football game in the cozy den of their Palos Verdes
Estates home of 28 years, Mike told Diana, who happened to be sitting
next to him, that he “felt funny.”
As she got up to make sure he was okay, he fell out of his chair. He was
unconscious, not breathing and unresponsive. Having taken numerous training
classes, Diana immediately began to administer CPR after dialing 911.
When paramedics arrived just four minutes later, Mike did not have a pulse.
However, they were able to restore his heart rhythm and quickly transport
him to the emergency department at Torrance Memorial.
Mike had suffered an episode of sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest. According
to his cardiologist,
Michele Del Vicario, MD, he was an ideal candidate to undergo an innovative treatment nicknamed
CODE ICE, because he did not regain consciousness after his heart rhythm returned.
Therapeutic hypothermia is the clinical name for the CODE ICE process.
Brain damage begins in just minutes without blood supply. Cooling an unconscious
patient whose heart stopped but regained a rhythm and pulse has proven
to increase survival and lessen neurological damage.
The body is cooled to about 91ºF for 24 hours before the patient is
gradually warmed back to normal temperature. The cooling is achieved using
the Arctic Sun® Temperature Management System, which has cooling pads
and a probe that is inserted into the patient’s bladder to monitor
the temperature. The patient also receives a chilled saline solution intravenously.
After his body warmed, Mike remained in the ICU for nine days so he could
receive round-the-clock care. Fortunately for Mike and his family, his
consciousness gradually returned.
Mike spent his last night at the hospital in the Progressive Care Unit,
where he could be closely monitored before he returned home. While Mike
doesn’t recall much of the entire experience, Diana, his son, Michael,
and his daughters, Rebecca and Julie, took notice of the “exceptional”
care he received—from the time of his ER arrival through his continued
recovery under Torrance Memorial Home Health.
“They cared about our entire family, and it was obvious they were
highly skilled at what they did,” says Diana. “While they
were careful not to raise our expectations too high, they were very optimistic
about his prognosis for recovery.
Everyone was wonderful—including the staff who cleaned the rooms.
The volunteers were always so helpful, from answering our many questions
to offering us a cup of coffee at just the right moment.”
Mike’s son adds, “Some of the staff came by to check on my
dad on their days off. This meant so much to my family. They really went
above and beyond what I believe a normal hospital would do every step
of the way.”
According to Dr. Del Vicario, the likelihood of Mike having a repeat episode
of cardiac arrest is rare. However, as a precautionary measure before
his discharge, Erol Kosar, MD, a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology
at Torrance Memorial, inserted a small internal defibrillator into Mike’s
heart. This acts similar to the paddles used to shock a heart and restore
Upon regaining consciousness, Mike had some memory loss, which he has slowly
regained. Under Torrance Memorial’s Home Health, Mike received occupational
and physical therapy to speed his full recovery and allow him to return
to work at Riviera Center Management Company, a real estate investment
firm he co-founded in Redondo Beach 15 years ago.
With no history of heart problems, coronary or valve disease, Dr. Del Vicario
calls Mike’s prognosis for a full recovery “excellent.”
With a green light from the doctor, Mike and Diana have returned to walking
three miles a day in their oceanview neighborhood. They are looking forward
to resuming their former activities with a newfound appreciation, including
boating with their family to Catalina and visiting their beloved home
in Sundance, Utah. However, what they are most thankful for is the gift
of time—to enjoy baby Michael and their other three grandchildren.
The Grannis family has long been committed to volunteering and giving back
in their community through the Charity League, Peninsula Committee Children’s
Hospital and other organizations. Looking for a way to show their gratitude
for Mike’s care, they decided to become Patrons of Torrance Memorial,
designating their gift to the ICU.
“It [CODE ICE] was a life-saver,” Mike says. “I’m
very grateful that Torrance Memorial offers such up-to-date procedures
so close to home.”