Alcor News Bulletin
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                Number 8: February 19th, 2003



         Our Current Position on Last-Minute Cases

Last week we were contacted by a man in Florida who told us 
that his mother was in intensive care and was not expected 
to survive for more than a few days. Unfortunately, neither 
the man nor his mother is an Alcor member. They had 
expressed interest in joining many years ago, but never 
completed their paperwork.

Last-minute cases have always been problematic for cryonics 
organizations. When someone is unconscious and near death in 
a hospital, and a relative asks us to intervene, we face two 
dilemmas: Lack of informed consent, and lack of arrangements 
for payment. We also have to agonize over another issue: Our 
limited resources. 

Alcor is still adjusting to a new era in which we expect an 
average of one case every six or seven weeks. In the past, 
when the facility had to handle only one or two cases per 
year, it could operate on a "batch system": When reserves of 
cryoprotectant, tubing packs, medications, or washout 
solution ran low, Alcor staff spent a few days making 
another batch, and then returned to their other duties. 
In the future, almost certainly we will have to move toward 
a system that is closer to a production line, creating new 
supplies on a continuing basis. This will require more staff 
and more lab space. Our expansion plan, which has been 
approved in principle by the board of directors, will triple 
the lab space but will require labor and money. Ultimately 
Alcor will reap benefits from growth, but like any small 
company that is trying to get bigger, we can expect some 
growing pains along the way. Alcor News will provide regular 
updates as we enhance our ability to handle a larger volume 
of cases, including simultaneous cases, using a bigger 
operating room and a faster system for producing supplies.

In the meantime, we may need to conserve our resources. 
While we are ramping up our capabilities to respond to a 
larger membership, we may hesitate to accept last-minute 
cases involving nonmembers, even in situations where our 
financial and ethical requirements can be satisfied. The 
lesson here is simple, has been delivered frequently, but 
cannot be repeated too often: Members come first. Currently 
almost 100 people have requested signup documents but have 
not completed them. If you are in this group, please be 
aware that until we accept you as a member, Alcor does not 
promise to respond if you experience a health emergency.

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              Alcor's New Paramedic Settles In

Larry Johnson, the nationally certified paramedic who joined
us fulltime just before the end of January, has been working
ten-hour days to familiarize himself with cryonics and help
us in our efforts to enhance our capabilities. Already Larry
has become fully proficient using the ATP (Air Transportable
Perfusion kit, which we employ for blood washout in remote
areas). Larry subsequently met all 12 of the members of
Paramedics Unlimited, and trained them in using the ATP,
along with a registered nurse who is now available to help
us on standbys. Two weeks from now, Larry will be teaching
techniques for patient airway access to our students in the 
Alcor training sessions which commence on March 1st. 

This coming Friday Larry will get some surgical practice at
a laboratory in California, and he will have a chance to
meet all of our Southern California team members. He'll show
them the new system that he has introduced for transporting 
meds in a set of canvas pouches which Larry used in the days
when he was a helicopter paramedic. 

Larry has also been calling Alcor members, obtaining updates
on their health histories. When we suggested that he might
work slightly shorter hours because we don't want to risk
him burning out, he laughed and told us that in his last job
he used to do 12-hour shifts on an ambulance in Las Vegas.
Apparently Alcor is a low-stress environment by comparison.

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                  Alan Sinclair's Bunker

Alan Sinclair, who lives in England, is the founder of 
Cryonics Europe, an umbrella organization that is open to 
members of other cryonics groups and includes some Alcor 
people in addition to its primary group of Cryonics 
Institute members. 

Recently Alan discovered an underground air-force 
installation which was designed to survive nuclear attack, 
is situated under about 7 acres of mostly undeveloped land, 
and is for sale for a "mere" 300,000 pounds sterling 
(slightly more than US$500,000). Alan seems serious about 
buying it. Since the facility contains about 30,000 square 
feet, it might actually be big enough to allow members of 
different cryonics organizations to coexist in relative 
harmony. More to the point, it offers unrivalled security as 
a future cryonics storage facility and could be a huge 
publicity magnet for cryonics in the UK.

For a look at some pictures of this unique installation, try 
these URLs:

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/sites/s/skendleby/ 
http://www.rockhopper.freeserve.co.uk/rafskendlebypage1.htm

When members of Alcor UK visit our training sessions on 
March 1st, we hope to discuss with them their outlook on 
sharing the resource of Alan Sinclair's bunker if he 
pursues his ambitious plan to buy it.

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                  Truck Conversion Update

As reported in previous editions of Alcor News, we are 
converting a truck into a cryonics treatment vehicle in 
which we should be able to perform surgical procedures. The 
load section of the truck is now being wired with 110-volt 
and 12-volt circuits and has been partially insulated. We 
considered mounting an RV-style electric-powered air 
conditioner above the cab (we didn't want it on the roof, 
because the truck is tall enough already). Unfortunately the 
top of the cab isn't big enough to support the cooling unit 
with sufficient vent space behind it, and we were unhappy 
about the need for an additional generator just to power the 
air conditioner. Consequently we are looking now at the type 
of unit normally used on larger trucks, with a compressor 
that is driven by the engine under the hood.

Meanwhile our two new California standby team leaders, Bobby 
June and Todd Huffman, are planning to inspect some vans and 
ambulances this week in an effort to decide which type of 
vehicle will be best to transport patients within the 
greater Los Angeles area. In a case that we handled last 
December, surgical procedures were delayed briefly while we 
were waiting for the mortuary collection service to reach 
the patient. Naturally a mortuary service can't be expected 
to respond with the same urgency as an ambulance service, 
and we recognize the need to fill this role ourselves.

A footnote regarding California readiness: A replacement ATP 
support kit and meds kit were shipped out from Alcor on 
Tuesday, February 18th. This satisfies our obligation to 
restock Southern California with emergency supplies.

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          Cryonics Loses an Advocate in Germany

We were sad to learn last week that one of the very few 
cryonicists in Germany is no longer alive. We still don't 
have complete details, but apparently he was found several 
days after he experienced cardiac arrest alone at his home. 
By the time we were notified, an autopsy had been performed. 
Obviously the prospect of future life is meager at best for 
anyone who has been autopsied after days of lifelessness at 
room temperature. 

Alcor informed this person more than two years ago that his 
membership would lapse because his insurance arrangements 
did not satisfy our requirements at that time. We have been 
told by his attorney that he made other arrangements to pay 
for cryopreservation via a bequest, but he never explained
to Alcor that he was doing this. If he had, we would have 
warned him that a bequest is not a method of prepayment 
which we normally accept. 

Last week we spoke to the mortician who has custody of the 
patient, and asked him to take steps to prevent any further 
deterioration of the brain. However, when we spoke to the 
same mortician today (February 19th), he told us that the 
patient willed his money to a friend who was supposed to 
allocate a portion to Alcor; but so far as we can determine, 
a German court has already ruled that since the patient 
endured such a long period of deterioration at room 
temperature, and since the brain was removed from the skull 
during autopsy, the court feels that cryopreservation is 
pointless, and the beneficiary of the will is under no
obligation to comply with any provision for Alcor to
receive payment.

This has been a very unhappy case which might have been
resolved differently if the patient had made arrangements
to pay for cryopreservation in accordance with our usual
guidelines, and if we had been notified more promptly
about the patient's death and the subsequent decision to
autopsy. Unfortunately, the patient had no close family 
members to tell us what was happening. 

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          Legal Briefing from a Funeral Director

Steve Rude (pronounced roo-dee), whose Rude Family Mortuary 
has assisted Alcor many times, visited us recently to 
provide guidance on the legalities of moving patients after 
legal death. We have been troubled by the time it takes to 
file a death certificate and obtain a disposition permit 
before we can move patients from some states, and we wanted 
to explore options to accelerate this process. From Steve we 
learned that emergency filing is only possible in selected 
counties. Also some states impose more regulatory barriers 
than others, and may require (for example) that the death 
certificate must be presented in person to the county 
registrar. By contrast, in Arizona, the death certificate 
can be faxed to the county registrar, and one member of the 
registrar's office takes a pager home each night, to respond 
to emergencies. This is another reason why we can offer 
better treatment to any patient who is able to relocate in 
Arizona before legal death occurs.

A few states have a much more relaxed attitude toward 
documentation. Florida, for instance, does not require that 
a death certificate accompanies a patient who is moved out-
of-state, and according to Steve, the certificate does not 
have to list the specific cause of death. It merely states 
whether the case should be reviewed by a medical examiner 
for possible autopsy.

The USA is a patchwork of inconsistent regulations 
controlling postmortem procedures. Clearly we need to be 
better informed about all the possible variations, so that 
we can be better prepared. The format of a death certificate 
is set by the state, even though a county has jurisdiction 
when someone dies; therefore our first step is to acquire 
sample death certificates from all 50 states, and be aware 
of which states have relatively lenient regulations. Steve 
will be assisting us in this effort.

Our session with Steve has enabled us to compile a four-page 
document, "Legal Aspects of Patient Transport," which will 
be included in our training sessions commencing on March 
1st. As reported in the previous Alcor News, the training 
sessions are now oversubscribed. We have not set a date, 
yet, for additional training that we hope to offer in the 
Fall.

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             Medical Guidance for Alcor Members

After a great deal of research and fact checking, Alcor 
finally can offer the booklet which we announced when we 
were preparing it last year. It is titled "Protecting 
Yourself in Medical Emergencies." 

Many of our members have asked us how to avoid an autopsy, 
how to assign durable power of attorney to healthcare, and 
under what circumstances they might benefit from a "do not 
resuscitate" order in a hospital. Alcor has provided advice 
on these topics in the past, but the information has never 
been gathered in one place. "Protecting Yourself in Medical 
Emergencies" describes all the simple steps that anyone can 
take to maximize the chance of receiving prompt treatment as 
a cryopatient.

The document is in Microsoft Word format. To receive an 
electronic copy, send your request to Jessica Sikes: 
 However, if you requested a copy when we 
announced it previously, please do not send a duplicate 
request now.




Alcor News is written primarily by Charles Platt.
Contents are copyright 2003 by Alcor 
Foundation but permission is granted to reprint any whole 
news item, so long as Alcor is credited as the source and 
the reprint includes our URL at http://www.alcornews.org.