Templeton, CA — January 25th, 2010
Alcor received emergency notification that the mother of one our members had tragically died as a result of a house fire. Apparently, a space heater within the home had caused a small fire. While attempting to douse the fire, it spread out of control and she was unable to contain it. We believe she suffered a heart attack and collapsed as she exited the home. There was some burn trauma to the patient, however it was limited to the lower half of her body.
While her son is an Alcor member and her former husband has already been cryopreserved, she had not actively signed up for membership during her lifetime. Upon learning of the incident, the son wanted to provide his mother with one final gift, and immediately began to pursue signing her up through a third party membership. This requires Alcor Board approval and has to meet specific requirements before a vote is taken to grant the request. While this process takes some time to complete, it was handled on an emergency basis to prevent unnecessary delays. Another obstacle to overcome, due to the legal implications of her death, was the medical examiner is required to ensure that no foul play had been involved. The son persuaded the medical examiner to limit the scope of the autopsy to an external Commuted Tomography (CT) scan of the brain. This satisfied the legal requirements of the county while maintaining the structural integrity of the patient’s brain.
In anticipation of being granted authority to receive the patient, Alcor deployed Transport Coordinator Aaron Drake along with the equipment needed to prepare and transport her back to Alcor. Since that county’s medical examiner completes his work at the various funeral homes, rather than at one central location, the patient was maintained at a temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the process, thus limiting the amount of ischemia that occurs in comparison to a normothermic environment. As there were no major airports near the rural community that could handle large cargo, the decision was made to drive the individual back to Alcor. Although the legal process was expedited, it became clear that enough time had elapsed that a straight freeze was the only option remaining, due to accumulating blood coagulation and loss of vascular integrity. Once final approval was given, the patient was packaged in dry ice and transported to Scottsdale, AZ.
Member A-2469 is now our 90th patient. A full case report will be issued.