As of August 29, 2016, Alcor has 1,100 cryopreservation members. We gained a net 100 members in 1 year, 11 months. The previous 100 took over 5 years. The 100 before that took 3 years and 2 months.
After about a decade of service on Alcor’s board of directors, Michael Seidl stepped down in April 2013 to focus on other responsibilities. When he recently informed us that he was once again available, the board quickly and unanimously voted him back on at the August 13, 2016 board meeting. Welcome back, Michael!
A-1765, a private Whole Body member of Alcor since 1999, was pronounced on August 5, 2016 at the age of 67 in New York City and became Alcor’s 147th patient on the morning of August 7. Cool down to liquid nitrogen temperature was completed on August 16.
Alcor member A-1765 suffered an unwitnessed fall at home on August 4, 2016 and was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York City, New York. Emergency surgery was performed to control bleeding in her brain. Surgeons were unsuccessful at stopping the bleeding and placed the patient in the Neuro ICU on a ventilator. Family notified Alcor on August 5, 2016. The patient was taken off life support and declared clinically dead at 10:21pm EST/7:21pm MST that evening.
The circumstances dictated that this would be a straight freeze situation. Our main concerns were that the patient not be kept on the ventilator and that the patient be cooled and brought to Alcor as quickly as possible. Alcor personnel stayed in contact with the patient’s step-son and the patient’s resident doctor. We also immediately located a nearby funeral director who understood our needs and who would cooperate. We became very concerned when we were told that the case would be referred to the Medical Examiner for New York City due to state law stating any unwitnessed fall causing death is automatically an autopsy case. Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case, although we immediately alerted legal counsel in case an injunction was called for.
As soon as clinical death had been declared, the patient was initially cooled by the hospital and then – from the morning of the 6th – by the funeral home. After the delay before hearing whether or not an autopsy would be required, transportation from New York to Arizona was arranged quickly, and the patient arrived in Phoenix at 10:24am on August 7. Cool down began at Alcor before noon that day.
Starting today (July 18), we welcome Josh Lado as he steps into the role of Medical Response Director. Josh comes to us from John C. Lincoln hospital where he had a range of roles and responsibilities. In addition to having been an EMT for over 10 years, he assisted the nurses in Pre-Op and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) with patient care, recovery of patients after anesthesia and assisting family members to answer questions they have. He also operated the Stealth Machine. This is a navigation unit surgeons use to help place screws into vertebra, assist in brain tumor resections, and placement of shunts into a patient’s brain.
He has also been in charge of Human Tissue Tracking for the hospital’s In-Patient and Out-Patient Surgery. He maintained a database that controls inventory and helped the hospital stay compliant with federal laws and competed a weekly inventory for all tissue in the hospital and worked with vendors for outdated product.
He also worked with the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Trauma Service personnel to train hospital employees for emergencies including Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) events. He has an Applied Science Degree in Paramedic Studies, and Applied Science degree in Fire Science, with numerous FEMA and related certificates.
During his time at John C. Lincoln, Josh was exposed to many different areas and, by all accounts, was highly proactive in solving problems beyond his required role. While working in surgery, he became very familiar with many instruments used and how to pass them to a surgeon. He assisted anesthesiologists with intubation of patients and IV access points. He has worked in high stress areas such as the trauma room in the Emergency Department and the OR Trauma Room and helped in the ICU with critical patients.
In talking with Josh, we were impressed not only by his range of skills but also by his attitude and interest in learning more about the science behind cryonics. Josh will receive thorough training by his predecessor, Aaron Drake. (We are also bringing in several other individuals to refresh and update their training.) Aaron will continue to be available to consult with Alcor during parts of the year, to take on special projects, and to provide relief to Josh so that he is not on-call 24/7/365.
James Clement, a member of the Alcor board of directors since December 2008, has stepped down, stating that he no longer has the time to handle the responsibilities of the position.
Among the many contributions made by James during his time on the board, he:
* Did most of the work to create the Alcor Endowment Trust Supporting Organization, and gained IRS approval for it as a separate tax-exempt organization from Alcor. This structure for our Endowment provides much greater security than existed before.
* Was acutely conscious in shortcomings in casework, leading him to propose the Quality Control Specialist position.
* Was an instrumental board member in the search for a replacement for Aaron.
* Served during 2016 as board Chair, attending most meetings in person.
* Brought Bonnie Magee to Alcor as Chief Finance Officer.
We are sad to see him leave as a board member, and value his contributions, and we wish him well in his current and future projects.
The next Northern California Alcor Meeting is:
July 10th, 3:00 p.m.
3181 Surmont Dr., Lafayette, CA
Alcor member of over 20 years, Cornelius (Neil) Freer, A-1495, was pronounced in New Mexico on March 25th, 2016 at the age of 85 and cryopreserved the same day. Neil, a whole-body member, is Alcor’s 146th patient.
Long-time Alcor member, Katia (Katie) Kars Friedman, A-1221, was pronounced in Phoenix, Arizona on March 15th, 2016 and cryopreserved the same day. Katie, a neurocryopreservation member, is Alcor’s 145th patient.
Katie had been on our Watch List since 2009 but recently suffered significant trauma and a closed head injury from a fall, just two days after her 98th birthday. She was relocated to the Scottsdale area by air ambulance as she was not expected to survive. An initial standby was launched but was discontinued as she improved from critical to recovery mode. Over the next three months, she continued to make progress while under the care of numerous hospitals and care facilities, but multiple infections eventually became too much to overcome.
Once in the area, Katie was moved to an in-patient hospice facility where her end-of-life care was carefully monitored by Alcor. The hospice informed us that her expected death would automatically become a Medical Examiner’s case and be subject to an autopsy, due to her closed head injury. After discussions with the ME’s office yielded no possibility of a waiver, we reached out to the hospice physician to identify an alternate solution. All of Katie’s medical records from the last 3 months were gathered and supplied to the physician and a case was built to suggest that her mental capacities had returned to baseline, through her recovery, thus bypassing the head-injury rule. After careful review, the physician agreed with our assessment and stated that he would remove the requirement for autopsy.
A standby was reinitiated at the hospice. With team members in the patient’s room, cardiac arrest was witnessed and her pronouncement occurred two minutes later. Immediate stabilization and cooling commenced prior to the approximately 20 minute drive to Alcor, where the surgical team was ready and waiting. The patient’s nasal pharyngeal temperature was 15.6º C upon arrival and there was no delay in beginning neuro separation, cannulation, and cryoprotective perfusion. Initial indications suggest she received a high-quality perfusion, lasting 3.75 hours. The full case report will include results of a CT scan.
Due to privacy restrictions that Alcor Life Extension Foundation respects, we can provide only minimal details in this case summary.
On January 25, 2016, Alcor was notified by the friend of an Alcor member that the member had been pronounced legally dead the previous day in Massachusetts after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. The member had specified that Alcor should cryopreserve “any part of the brain possible”. Unable to receive details from the family, Alcor deployed Medical Response Director, Aaron Drake, to recover the member by the binding authority of the member’s legal documents for cryopreservation before possible autopsy or cremation might occur.
After some delays locating the member without information from the family, cooling to dry ice temperature began on January 27 followed by subsequent transport to Alcor and cooling to liquid nitrogen temperature for long-term storage. With the assistance of Alcor’s legal counsel in sensitively communicating the member’s wishes to the family in their time of grief, a final viewing by the family was possible before dry ice cooling began.
Mark Lee Miller, Alcor member A-2889, lived in Costa Mesa, California and suffered from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mark, aged 61, served eight years in the Army and worked for the FBI in Orange County for 33 years. On December 31, 2015 at approximately 22:58 PST, Mr Miller suffered a sudden non-witnessed cardiac arrest. Although family members were near his bedside, they were unsure of the actual time when the member took his final breath. He was pronounced legally deceased in Costa Mesa, California at 23:55 PST (00:55 in Arizona) by the hospice nurse who had been called to the home by the family. Miller, a whole body member, became Alcor’s 143rd patient on December 31, 2015.
Mr Miller had planned to relocate close to Alcor to enter into hospice. Unfortunately, he declined more rapidly than expected, eliminating any opportunity to fly to Scottsdale. Alcor asked Suspended Animation to visit his home to evaluate his condition in an effort to determine deployment strategies. At this time he had good oxygenation by mask. Nevertheless, Mr Miller arrested a few hours following the visit, December 31, 2015. This unexpectedly rapid decline led to a delay before cooling and stabilization could commence by SA. A field washout was carried out in California.
On arrival at the location of field washout, the patient’s nasopharyngeal temperature was 15.0 degC. When the SA team arrived at Alcor at 11:45 PST/12:45 MST on January 1, nasopharyngeal temperature was 5.4 degC. Cryoprotection was concluded about five hours later and cool down to long-term storage begun. A CT scan was conducted at a later date. More information will be forthcoming in a case report, including the CT data.