Alcor News Bulletin
                Number 15:  August 13th, 2003

    Renewed Ted Williams Controversy: An Interim Response

Earlier this year Alcor News reported that we hired Larry
Johnson, a nationally certified paramedic, to manage our
standby/transport work and emergency response capability.
Larry came to us with excellent references and was actively
helpful in implementing a major revision of our meds kits. He
participated in our March training sessions and also helped
to train paramedics in Phoenix and Florida. Larry became an
Alcor member and made no secret of this. He told a CBS TV
news team from Los Angeles that he had always wanted to see
the future, and he seemed to feel that cryonics would help
him to get there.

In two cases, Larry made a decisive difference by giving
emergency guidance over the phone. He helped to minimize
ischemic damage and made a radical difference to the
condition of the cryopatients in these cases. We were
impressed by his assistance generally, and were glad to have
him at Alcor.

Unfortunately Larry seemed to feel unhappy with some aspects
of Alcor. He had come to us from a very large, well-funded
paramedic facility where he had been better compensated.
Apparently he nursed a grudge to such an extent that he
provided a reporter at Sports Illustrated with confidential
information which seemed calculated to damage Alcor as much
as possible. The news item was picked up by The Associated
Press and triggered reports from sources such as The New
York Times and The Arizona Republic.

We were astonished and dismayed that a nationally certified
paramedic would behave in such a way, without any significant
provocation that we are aware of. We had done everything we
could to get to know Larry and verify that he was an ethical
person whom we could trust.

Fortunately Alcor has accumulated some redundancy among its
field team members during the past year. We can still respond
well in an emergency. In the meantime, in reply to some of
Larry Johnson's allegations, we are providing the news media
with information explaining that our procedures are
formulated to minimize damage, not create it.

In particular, the damage caused by fracturing when a
vitrified cryopatient is cooled to liquid-nitrogen
temperature is small compared with the cellular damage that
used to occur using glycerol as a cryoprotectant. While we
won't be entirely happy until the day when we achieve zero-
damage cryopreservation, we are absolutely convinced that
repair of simple fractures will be easy compared with the
reconstruction of cellular debris that used to be caused by
ice formation.

Also, when we use a perforator (a standard medical tool) in
our operating room to create two small burr holes in the
skull, this is a precaution enabling us to inspect the
surface of the brain during cryoprotective perfusion.
Observation of the brain is a safety measure to reduce the
risk of edema. Here again, we tolerate a small amount of
damage in the interests of avoiding much greater damage. (A
burr hole can be repaired even with today's medicine.)

Finally we must emphasize, contrary to news reports, that
Alcor has never collected "DNA samples" from its
cryopatients. Obviously Alcor has no need to collect "DNA
samples," since a neuropatient already contains billions of
DNA molecules. We may collect venous effluent samples during
the perfusion of a cryopatient, but the purpose of these
samples is to evaluate blood chemistry via standard lab

So far as we can tell, Larry Johnson took some of Alcor's
property away with him when he disappeared without warning at
the end of the weekend of August 9th and 10th. During the
preceding weeks he recorded conversations with Alcor
employees without notifying them or seeking their permission,
and he probably viewed confidential documents. We will be
taking appropriate action. Alcor must make a clear statement
that it will not be intimidated by the threat of bad press
and will not tolerate gross violations of its standard
nondisclosure agreement by employees or ex-employees.

We will provide additional updates when we have any
significant news to report. Currently we have been unable to
reach Larry Johnson via phone or email, despite repeated
attempts. If he has any statement to make regarding our
description of what we believe he did, we invite his

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