Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Jerry Searcy, A-1037, becomes Alcor’s 167th patient on March 24, 2019

Jerry Searcy, a non-confidential neuropreservation member became Alcor’s 167th patient on March 24, 2019, in Scottsdale, AZ. Jerry had been an Alcor member since 1979 and was a very active volunteer. His death was sudden and unexpected as Jerry seemed to be in good health for his age. Fortunately, the medical examiner released him to us without any damaging autopsy. It is not known how long the period of ischemia was – other than it cannot have been more than 24 hours.

Alcor member A-3224 becomes Alcor’s 166th patient on March 2, 2019

A-3224, a confidential 85-year-old Alcor member with third-party neurocryopreservation arrangements, was declared legally dead on February 20, 2019 in San Francisco, California.

A-3224, a third-party sign-up, was pronounced clinically deceased before any membership paperwork had been signed. Relatives placed him into a freezer at a funeral home in the San Francisco bay area while we awaited funds to be transferred and paperwork to be completed. Although Alcor rarely approves third-party sign-ups, this one passed most of our criteria. Medical Response Director, Chris Divver, flew to the member’s location on February 27 to coordinate with the funeral director.

Prior to his departure, Chris spent time with Alcor Technical Coordinator, Steve Graber, to practice building Alcor’s standard whole body dry ice shipper to get more hands-on knowledge of the process. He also included a copy of the instructions to bring with me. Once in the area, using Alcor documentation Chris worked with the funeral service to build the dry ice shipper. The quality of the build was verified through extensive photographic documentation and an overnight dry ice consumption test.

On March 1, the dry ice shipper was sealed and transported to the airport. Unfortunately, the dry ice shipper was 100lbs overweight and was unable to get onto the flight. Although this was frustrating, it was far better than shipping with insufficient dry ice. On March 2, the case was resealed and taken to the airport, this time being under the weight limit. The member arrived that evening and went into cool down at 10:30 pm.

Alcor member A-1661 becomes Alcor’s 165th patient on January 2, 2019

Lisa Shock, a non-confidential Alcor member (A-1661) with neurocryopreservation arrangements, died suddenly in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 2, 2019.

She was found by a friend who called Alcor immediately. The paramedics were called and she was transported to the hospital where she was legally pronounced deceased on January 2, 2019. Alcor worked with the Medical Examiner and the member was released to Alcor within hours of her legal death. Lisa Shock, who had been an active Alcor organizer for many years became Alcor’s 165th patient that same day.

Alcor member A-1990 becomes Alcor’s 164th patient on October 30, 2018

Norman Hardy, a non-confidential, neurocryopreservation Alcor member was pronounced legally deceased on October 30, 2018, in Mountain View, CA.

This was an important milestone for Alcor and for cryonics as this is the first time Death With Dignity legislation was used to reduce the potential ischemic damage that can result when additional biological damage is sustained during a prolonged dying process.

On October 21, 2018 Alcor Life Extension (Alcor) notified Suspended Animation (SA) that member A-1990, a member who has been closely watched for the past few months, decided that he wanted to end his life using physician approved End of Life medications (EOL). Mr. Hardy had been diagnosed with terminal metastatic prostate cancer that had spread to the bones, and lungs. His pain had been poorly managed, and Norman had been looking to end his life as soon as possible.

Initially, Mr. Hardy said that he was going to take his EOL prescription the same Wednesday. This set off our alarms bell since two days was insufficient for us to prepare for a case in unprecedented circumstances. Alcor had requested that the member hold off on taking his EOL medications until a thorough investigation into the End of Life Option Act in California had been reviewed. Fortunately, Mr. Hardy relented, giving us a week to prepare.

Chris Divver, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, and Dr. Steve Harris, Alcor’s Chief Medical Advisor, together with other Alcor staff and Suspended Animation personnel worked for over a week to ensure that all legal requirements were in place. The hospice facility and the family members all cooperated with Alcor to make this case work seamlessly. SA was deployed to the patient’s location on October 29, 2018. Chris Divver arrived on Wednesday October 26 and stayed until Mr. Hardy’s pronouncement, field washout, and air ambulance flight to Scottsdale on October 30.

Alcor member A-2811 becomes Alcor’s 163rd patient on October 17, 2018

Alcor member A-2811, a confidential, neurocryopreservation member, was pronounced legally deceased on October 17, 2018, in Scottsdale, Arizona and became Alcor’s 163rd patient.

This patient was the father of an existing Alcor member who had relocated his father to Scottsdale in order to prevent ischemic damage associated with transit times and to take advantage of the best protocols Alcor has to offer. The member had stage 4 cancer that had metastasized.

International Cryomedicine Experts (ICE) was deployed to standby and stabilize the member. The standby lasted five days. There were considerable challenges with a skilled nursing facility that would not cooperate, but the member was successfully relocated to a hospice facility in time to mount a successful standby and stabilization.

Alcor member A-2067, becomes Alcor’s 162nd patient on September 18, 2018

Alcor member A-2067, a confidential, neurocryopreservation member, was pronounced on September 18, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He had been in an assisted-living facility for several years. Alcor requested a Suspended Animation-led standby on September 14. Because there was no on-call RN who could pronounce at his location in Utah, we successfully transported him from Utah to Scottsdale by air ambulance – something made possible by the availability of above-minimum funding. The member arrived in Scottsdale on the night of September 16. ICE (International Cryomedicine Experts) took over at that point. He became Alcor’s 162nd patient on September 18, 2018.

More details will be added to this case summary after review and validation.

A-2887 becomes Alcor’s 160th patient on August 13, 2018

Herbert Drazen, Alcor member A-2887, a non-confidential, whole body member, was pronounced on August 13, 2018 (after an unknown amount of time before being discovered) in Pomona, New York. He became Alcor’s 160th patient that day, and arrived at Alcor for cool down on August 15, 2018.

(All times are in Mountain Time in 24-hour format.) On Monday, August 13, 2018 at 09:03 a Telemed alert was received, informing Alcor that non-confidential Alcor member Herbert Drazen of Pomona, New York had been pronounced deceased. The member lived alone in a small upstate New York community about an hour north of Manhattan.

The patient had been found in his home by a relative who had received a call from the dialysis center that the patient was late for an appointment. The police and paramedics were present at the time and they immediately released the patient as he was not considered to be a coroner’s case.

With the assistance of Alcor’s local mortician, a New York mortician was contacted and sent to retrieve the patient and pack him in dry ice as quickly as possible. Since the New York Mortician estimated that the patient had died approximately 24 hours (and perhaps considerably longer) prior to being found, it was decided by the Alcor Deployment Committee that it would not be possible to perfuse this patient. Therefore, the decision was made to pack the patient in dry ice as quickly as possible and then have him air shipped back to Alcor to be placed into liquid nitrogen. The New York mortician was very cooperative and helpful.

The patient departed JFK Airport in New York on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, at 15:06 and arrived at Phoenix, Sky Harbor Airport at 20:55. The patient was placed into cooldown at Alcor on August 20, 2018.

A-1334 becomes Alcor’s 159th patient on July 22, 2018

Ron Putirka, Alcor member A-1334, a non-confidential, neurocryopreservation member, was pronounced on July 22, 2018 in Las Vegas Nevada. He became Alcor’s 159th patient the same day.

On July 18, 2018, a close friend of Alcor member, Ron Putirka, a 73-year old man, notified Alcor that the member had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a hospital in Las Vegas. This was due to difficulty breathing, unresponsiveness, and a diagnosis of stage IV prostate cancer with multi-system organ failure. Ron’s career as a singer started in Detroit, MI when he was a teenager. In his later years, while living part of the time in Nevada, he had sung in many nightclubs in Las Vegas.

The Alcor Deployment Committee sent Suspended Animation (SA) to the patient’s location with their mobile operating vehicle. The immediate deployment was requested as the member was declining rapidly. After a four-day standby, the member was pronounced legally deceased at 03:11 hrs. on July 22, 2018. Ron arrived at Alcor 7 hours and 15 minutes after pronouncement. Less than six hours later, the cool down process begun.

A-1377 becomes Alcor’s 158th patient on June 18, 2018

A-1377, a confidential whole body member, was pronounced on June 18, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He became Alcor’s 158th patient the same day (although arrived at Alcor on June 19).

On Saturday, June 16, 2018, a TeleMed alert was sent out at 13:31 hrs stating that confidential Alcor member A-1377 was close to death. A decision was made by the Alcor Deployment Committee to have Suspended Animation (SA) deploy for standby. A flight was booked to depart that night at 22:30 hrs which would arrive at the destination on the following morning
at 06:15 hrs.

This 49-year-old member had developed esophageal cancer several years earlier which had progressed to stage IV despite an esophagectomy, radiation therapy, and several courses of chemotherapy.

At the time of this case, the member had been in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with presumed aspiration pneumonia and sepsis and had deteriorated despite therapy to the point that he had required high-dose vasopressor support and mechanical ventilation.

Based on the member’s condition, the family elected to withdraw support as soon as SA was on site and ready. When the member was pronounced, SA performed the stabilization protocol and then transferred the patient to a local funeral home for the washout procedure. The perfusion was completed at 19:31 hrs and preparations for transport were begun.

The patient arrived at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ at 15:06 hrs on June 19, 2018, and SA met with Alcor staff at 16:13 hrs for the patient handoff for cryoprotectant perfusion at Alcor.