James “Jim” Stevenson, PhD, first became a member of Alcor in 1989 and was assigned member number A-1203. Jim was an experimental psychologist for NASA for 35 years in the Human Systems Integration division. Jim was blind and his work had applications for sighted as well as vision-impaired people. He was a long-time advocate of cryonics.
In late November of 2010, Jim was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pain. He notified Alcor immediately and we remotely monitored his condition over the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and there was no treatment the doctors could offer due to the late stage of his diagnosis. When Jim’s condition took a turn for the worse, Alcor deployed members of the Northern California Response Team to the hospital to pre-position the medications and response kit. Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, and Steve Graber, Alcor’s Readiness Coordinator, flew to Palo Alto, CA, where Jim was hospitalized.
As Aaron, Steve, and members of the Northern California team met with hospital administrators to lay the plans for the expected cryonics procedures, Jim’s vital signs continued to decline over the course of the day. Late the same evening, Jim was pronounced by the attending physician with the Alcor response team at his bedside.
The Alcor field team stabilized the patient and performed a field washout, with the assistance of a friendly mortuary. This was the first field washout performed by an Alcor team in several years and a significant milestone in Alcor’s emergency response capability. The team also performed a neuroseparation in the field and expedited transport of the patient to Alcor using a charter flight.
The Alcor OR team achieved terminal perfusion. Alcor’s redesigned cooldown and acoustic monitoring system, which controls the cooldown process and detects tissue fracturing during temperature descent, was used for the first time on a human patient with good results.