Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

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

A-1377, a confidential whole body member, was pronounced on June 17, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He became Alcor’s 158th patient on June 18.

On Saturday, June 17, 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 the morning of June 19, 2018, and SA met with Alcor staff at 16:13 hrs for the patient handoff.

Outcome: There was a small isotherm in the brain in the cooldown data at approximately -10°C. This is an indication of some ice formation. A concentration of 40 Brix in the perfusate could not be attained. This is reflected in the isotherm in the cooldown curve. Very little retraction of the brain was seen in the burr holes, which indicates incomplete cryoprotection. The left eye was partially collapsed while the right eye was not, indicating uneven vascular access. There was extensive skin mottling overall on the body and strong darkening of the skin of the head. This indicates that the skin was perfused.

Timothy Hubley, A-1395, becomes Alcor’s 157th Patient on May 13, 2018

Timothy Hubley, A-1395, a non-confidential neuropreservation member was pronounced on May 13, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. He became Alcor’s 157th patient on May 14.

Timothy (Tim) Hubley suffered a stroke in January of 2016. He was starting to regain his speech and balance. He and his wife had just moved to Jacksonville, FL to be closer to his wife’s family. They would be able to help care for Tim and his wife. On Sunday, May 13, 2018, Alcor received a emergency alert about Tim. Tim and his family had sat down to dinner when a piece of steak became lodged in Tim’s throat. Chest thrusts and CPR were performed immediately by family members. Tim was taken to a nearby hospital but was pronounced legally deceased.

Alcor began making arrangements immediately to fly to Jacksonville and perform field cryoprotective perfusion. The Medical Examiner contacted Alcor and stated that an autopsy was required due to the patient’s suspected cause of death and because he did not have a primary physician to sign the death certificate. Alcor worked with the Medical Examiner and we were able to avoid an autopsy. The Medical Examiner released Tim to a local funeral home with no additional issues.

Eric Vogt of ICE (International Cryomedicine Experts) and Alcor’s Medical Response Director, Josh Lado, arrived in Jacksonville on Monday morning. Field cryoprotective perfusion was started 17 hours after legal death was declared. Cryoprotective perfusion started at 08:50 (MT) and was completed at 13:15. A terminal concentration of M22 was reached and maintained to ensure equilibrium. There was no evidence of edema. Overall, the perfusion went well apart from a temporary stoppage of flow that was resolved by repositioning the pump and tubing. The patient was then secured in a neuro shipper and cooled with dry ice.

The team left Jacksonville on Tuesday morning. Upon arrival back at Alcor, the patient was placed into the cooldown dewar and the computer system was initiated. Once cooldown is completed, Alcor will perform CT scans to determine the degree of success of the perfusion.

More details will be provided in a forthcoming case report.

Norma D. Peterson, A-1547, becomes Alcor’s 156th Patient on February 22, 2018

Norma D. Peterson, A-1547, a non-confidential neuropreservation member was pronounced on February 22, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The same day she became Alcor’s 156th patient.

On Wednesday, February 20 2018, Alcor received a Telemed alert about a patient in Redwood City, California. Norma Peterson was a hospice patient living in a memory care nursing home. Her daughter was in contact with Alcor in the weeks before about moving the patient to Arizona. On the evening of February 21st, Norma developed labored breathing and an elevated heart rate. The hospice nurse onsite thought death was very close and called Alcor. Medical Response Director Josh Lado and experienced contractor Eric Vogt flew with the field neuro cryoprotection kit.

On initial assessment and discussions with family and Alcor Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Harris, it was decided to transport the patient to Arizona. The patient appeared to have stabilized sufficiently to make this possible. A medevac jet was arranged for that evening. The patient arrived at the local hospital in Phoenix, AZ at 00:58 hrs. on Thursday, February 22nd. At 12:51 hrs., the hospital nurse contacted Lado stating the patient was not doing well and the nurse believed death was imminent. Lado and Vogt responded to the hospital and performed stabilization protocols for the patient.

The patient was transported to Alcor where the team and surgeon were waiting. The surgeon performed neuro separation and cannulation. Perfusion was stopped at 23:55 hrs. when she was moved into cooldown. On Tuesday, February 27th, she was taken for a CT scan and Alcor will determine the degree of success of the perfusion surgery.

A-1988 Becomes Alcor’s 155th Patient on January 22, 2018

A-1988, a confidential neuro member, was pronounced on January 21, 2018 in Ottawa, Canada. The following day she became Alcor’s 155th patient.

On Friday, January 19, 2018, Alcor received a Telemed alert about a member in Ottawa, Canada. On Wednesday, January 17th, the patient was feeling tired. On Thursday, she was unable to get out of bed and feeling even more tired. The patient was taken to the hospital Friday morning. Doctors were afraid her liver was bleeding. A CT scan showed no bleeding and she was admitted to the hospital onto a non-monitored floor. Later in the day, Alcor was updated that she was feeling better and had more energy.

The patient had a history of breast cancer that she was able to overcome 15 years ago. She was diagnosed 2.5 years ago with non-small cell lung cancer. The cancer spread to brain, spine, and liver. The cancer responded from traditional treatments with only the liver showing signs of cancer on the scans. Treatment moved to experimental drugs.

On Saturday, January 20th, Alcor received an update about the patient. She was doing better. She had more energy and was eating lunch. Her next experimental drug trial was due to begin on January 24, 2018 and doctors felt she would still be able to begin the trial.

On Sunday, Alcor received a phone call at 08:33 am (AZ time) stating that the patient had died. The hospital found the patient without vital signs and doctors declared her deceased at 08:30 am. Immediate actions were set into motion by Alcor to fly to Ottawa to perform field neuro cryoprotective perfusion. The team flew from Scottsdale, AZ to Vernal, UT to pick up Josh Lado from vacation. The team landed in Ottawa and went to the funeral home. Field neuro cryoprotective surgery and perfusion was performed by Josh Lado and Aaron Drake with the assistance of Steve Graber and Eric Vogt. Perfusion went well and the patient was cooled with dry ice.

The team left Ottawa on Monday morning. Upon arrival back at Alcor, the patient was placed into the cooldown dewar and the computer system was initiated. Once cooldown is completed, Alcor will perform CT scans to determine the degree of success of the perfusion.
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Fortunately, the family was able to afford a charter flight — shown in these photos — thereby greatly reducing travel time and making field cryoprotection possible.

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Robert Whitaker A-1649, becomes Alcor’s 152nd Patient on June 4, 2017

Robert Whitaker (A-1649), a public, neuro member, was pronounced on June 3, 2017 in Columbia, SC and became Alcor’s 152nd patient on June 4, 2017.

On Saturday June 3rd at 16:25, Medical Response Director Josh Lado received a Telemed alert that Robert Whitaker was found clinically deceased at home. His personal assistant had gone out shopping and when she arrived home, she found Robert. She immediately called Alcor’s emergency line. When Josh contacted her, he directed her to immediately call 911 and report Robert’s condition. He then called Alcor president Max More to discuss what could be done.

It was decided to do our best given the situation, which was to complete a field neuro cryoprotection. Working with the Lexington County Deputy Coroner and Pathologist. Josh was able to coordinate Robert being taken to the hospital morgue where the entire field neuro procedure could be done as soon as Josh and Steve Graber, Alcor’s Technical and Readiness Coordinator, arrived the following day.

Josh and Steve left Phoenix, AZ just before midnight and arrived in Columbia, SC Sunday morning. They arrived at the hospital and were able to start surgery just after 09:30 AZ time. Surgery went well and perfusion went better than expected. Good flow was established and all bags were finished at 12:50 AZ time.

Robert was placed into the neuro dry ice box shipper for immediate cool down to dry ice temperature. Additional dry ice was added that night and again in the morning before shipment. He was transported back to Scottsdale, arriving Monday morning. He was placed into the cool down dewar on Wednesday morning as cool down needed to be completed for the previous Alcor patient. Robert will continue to cool and a CT scan will be performed before he is placed in a Bigfoot dewar.

JoAnn Martin (A-1151) becomes Alcor’s 151st patient on May 25, 2017

JoAnn Martin (A-1151), the wife of former Alcor Board Member Saul Kent, was pronounced on May 25, 2017 at 11:04 in Riverside, California. She is a public, whole body member.

JoAnn was initially taken by ambulance to the ER, accompanied by her nurse, around 14:30 PT on May 24th with generalized pain and shortness of breath. She was stabilized and doctors attempted to determine the cause of her symptoms, running tests, performing scans and monitoring her. Her vitals were good and she was able to talk through that evening. On May 25th at 03:45, The Chief Operating Officer of Alcor’s cryonics stabilization and transport contractor, Suspended Animation, Inc., Catherine Baldwin contacted Alcor’s Director of Medical Response, Josh Lado.

Catherine stated JoAnn was in grave condition and informed him that Suspended Animation (SA) would be starting a standby immediately at the hospital. At the hospital, JoAnn twice went into cardiac arrest and was revived twice. After a neurological evaluation, it was decided that additional resuscitation attempts would not be made if cardiac arrest occurred again. She was pronounced legally deceased following another cardiac arrest at 11:04. Stabilization was started immediately by SA. Transport was set up by Catherine by private plane to transport JoAnn directly to Scottsdale.

JoAnn arrived in Scottsdale at 14:25 and was transferred to Alcor. Surgery started at 14:46. The surgeon accessed the aorta and vena cava. Wash out was attempted with B1 solution but there was no return through the vena cava. The surgeon attempted to re-cannulate both vessels with no success. Phone calls were made to Alcor’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Harris, and a consulting scientist. They made suggestions to ensure adequate suction in the venous drainage line, and open the abdomen and attempt to find a possible abdominal aortic aneurysm.

The surgeon was not able to find any tears or abnormalities in the aorta. The intestines and stomach were filled with B1 solution and were not draining. Jugular veins were accessed to see if B1 solution was making it to the brain. None was observed by the surgeon. It was decided the best course of action for this patient was to move to field neuro cryoprotection and try to perfuse the brain only. Field neuro was set up and started at 17:10. All 12 bags were flowed in and perfusion ended at 23:51.

JoAnn was moved in to the cool down box and the computer assisted cool down began. On Saturday June 3rd, she was at -80 C. She was brought out and placed into a sleeping bag and a dry ice shipping box with dry ice covering her. She was transported to a medical imaging center in North Scottsdale for CT scanning. Her head, torso, and abdomen were scanned. Once finished, she was transported back to Alcor and placed into a patient pod and lowered into a single cool down dewar. The computer assisted cool down for liquid nitrogen was started and has been completed at the time of writing.

A-2998, Meihuei Kao, becomes Alcor’s 150th Patient on February 22 2017

Meihuei Kao, A-2998, a non-confidential whole body member, was pronounced on February 19, 2017 in Tijuana, Mexico. Meihuei became Alcor’s 150th patient on February 22, 2017.

Josh Lado, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, received a phone call from an Alcor director on Sunday, February 19, 2017. The director explained that they had received a phone call from a family attorney stating their client wanted to sign their mother up to be cryopreserved. Josh contacted the attorney and the patient’s son. Her son stated the patient was in Tijuana, Mexico getting treatment for kidney failure. The patient was not doing well and was very close to death. Josh explained that Alcor rarely accepts last-minute, third-party cases and that several criteria must be met, with final approval from the board of directors being required.

While speaking with family, Meihuei Kao passed away from kidney failure. Meihuei was immediately placed in the hospitals morgue with ice all around her to begin the cooling process. The patient was placed on dry ice on February 20th. She was transported from Tijuana to a San Diego Funeral Home. Alcor personnel transported her to Scottsdale on February 22nd. Meihuei was transferred into liquid nitrogen vapor cool down on February 24th. Cool down was completed on February 28th and Meihuei is now in long-term storage and care.

A-1765 becomes Alcor’s 147th Patient on August 7, 2016

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.

A-1221 Katie Kars Friedman Case Summary, Patient 145

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.