Alcor 1997 Stabilization and Transport Manual
Table of Contents

Afterword

As has been made abundantly clear, time is the most dangerous enemy a cryonic suspension patient faces. It is an irrepressible foe with the capacity to completely destroy everything a transport team is trying to save. And time is responsible for the ravages of disease, old age, and death, which precede a cryonic suspension. Decisions made before and actions taken once illness or old age strike will usually determine what happens to a person as death approaches. Most human beings allow their bodies to be destroyed through burial or cremation, and accept that all which will remain of their life, their existence, is the memories and mementos held by friends still alive. This inevitability of death and personal destruction is unacceptable to those who've chosen to be cryonically suspended.

Despite all the uncertainties and compromising factors in cryonics, one thing is certain. An individual whose physical body, in whole or in part, is submerged in liquid nitrogen has a better chance of being healed by doctors of the future than even the most well-documented personality in the world.

Each transport and cryonic suspension ensures that something substantial is preserved: structure. Even when brutally autopsied, an admittedly tiny chance exists that future physicians will be able to examine that patient. Many things, between now and then may dramatically affect the success of cryonics, and not just in medicine. Economics and business management, engineering and space exploration, even changes in cultural mores may have unpredictable affects. But the critical element in every eventuality is having the patient safe, secure, and relatively intact. And every patient who reaches a safe haven in liquid nitrogen, regardless of the extent of structural damage, has a chance.

Every transport that results in Alcor gaining custody of a patient is, on some levels, a success. Optimizing a patient's condition for freezing is second only to this. A transport is physically and psychologically demanding, but for cryonicists who prize the value of life and individuality, the costs are a necessary, if lamentable, part of achieving the freedoms that time may offer.

Transport team members must take heart. There has never been a perfect stabilization and transport, although we near it with each passing case. But there may never be a perfect case. Even when the circumstances prevent rapid stabilization and transport, once the patient is in Alcor's care and rests in liquid nitrogen, a transport must be considered a success. Saving lives is difficult, and anyone participating in that worthy endeavor should be proud.

 

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