This past month, Alcor was faced with three members who were admitted to hospice with end-stage conditions. On back-to-back days, two of our members were cryopreserved while the third member’s condition has temporarily improved.
Through careful planning, we were able to have two members admitted into the same Hospice of the Valley facility, literally across the hall from each other. This allowed Alcor’s Arizona team to carefully monitor both members’ conditions simultaneously, 24 hours a day. Having three team members and Alcor’s Rescue Vehicle on site, we were able to provide immediate stabilization and cool down procedures and exceptionally quick transfer from time of pronouncement to Alcor’s surgery suite in 40 minutes and 32 minutes, respectively.
These cases were very important as they tested numerous benchmarks of Alcor’s abilities:
• How quickly Alcor could recover and reset for another patient.
• The abilities of the redeveloped and retrained Arizona team.
• The functionality of the recently remodeled Rescue Vehicle.
• The application of new stabilization equipment and supplies.
• The effectiveness of promoting that Alcor members relocate to
Scottsdale when they enter into hospice.
The real benefit of all of our preparations, training and planning is to our members, who reportedly received excellent perfusions.
Chihiro Asaumi (Yumi, A-2361), a member of Alcor for about two years, had relocated with her husband to the Scottsdale area. Suffering from metastatic breast cancer, her condition had worsened, apparently after a change in her medication. With surgical intervention no longer an option, she was accepted by Hospice of the Valley on an outpatient basis in late March.
Until Yumi met the requirements for inpatient care, hospice nurses regularly visited her at home. During this time, we communicated almost daily with her husband and the hospice personnel. When it became apparent Yumi had transitioned to the “active dying process,” her husband transferred her to inpatient care at a facility, located about 10 minutes from Alcor central.
The evening before her transfer, we launched a standby, which ultimately lasted four days. She was pronounced on April 14th with the Alcor standby team at her bedside. The emergency stabilization process was begun immediately following pronouncement, and she arrived at Alcor 40 minutes later. She is now in long-term care as Alcor’s 93rd patient.
Wesley du Charme (Wes, A-1614), a member for nearly 14 years, was recently diagnosed with end-stage pancreatic cancer after battling brain cancer for an extended period of time. After determining that additional treatments would be futile and the time required for treatments would only reduce the likelihood he would be well enough for travel, Wes and his wife packed their bags and flew to Arizona. The flight was challenging for Wes, given his condition, but he said that getting close to Alcor was worth the effort.
Wes was admitted to Hospice of the Valley and after five days as an inpatient, Wes took a turn for the worse. Having just completed Yumi’s cryopreservation, Alcor was back on standby with little recuperation time. On April 15th, about 30 hours after Yumi was pronounced, Wes became Alcor’s 94th patient. Again, the Alcor standby team was on-site and began stabilization immediately upon pronouncement, arriving at Alcor with the patient only 32 minutes later.
Orville Richardson was an Alcor member who after his death in Burlington, Iowa, February, 2009, was buried by his next of kin without Alcor’s knowledge. On April 6, 2010, the Iowa Court of Appeals will hear an appeal by Alcor as to why Alcor should be allowed to recover and cryopreserve whatever remains of the brain of Mr. Richardson. Alcor is pursuing this appeal at substantial expense and risk of public misunderstanding because it believes that it has an obligation to fulfill wishes of its members, and defend the primacy of the individual right to choose cryonics.
Orville Richardson joined Alcor in 2004, directing that his remains be cryopreserved for purposes of cryonics research and potential revival in the future. He paid $20,000 for an Alcor Life Membership instead of paying annual membership dues. He also prepaid an additional $50,000 for his neuropreservation (preservation of the brain within the head) cryonics arrangement. This amount was held by Alcor in a segregated account until time of need, with earned interest regularly paid back to Mr. Richardson. Contrary to some media reports, Alcor is not aware of Mr. Richardson leaving any money to Alcor in a will.
Mr. Richardson died on Febrary 19, 2009, at the age of 81. He suffered from dementia the year before his death. He was survived by his brother and sister, his wife having died 22 years earlier. They had no children. On April 21, 2009, his brother wrote Alcor asking that the $50,000 prepaid by Orville Richardson for his cryonics arrangements be refunded to his estate because he “obviously did not utilize this service.” Alcor didn’t know that Mr. Richardson was seriously ill, and only learned of his death upon receipt of this letter. Alcor learned that Mr. Richardson had been embalmed and buried.