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Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Alcor Members Speaking at the Humanity+ July 7-8 Online Summit

POST-PANDEMIC: A World Free from Disease and Destruction. That’s the title of a summit organized by Humanity Plus to be held online via the Zoom platform. Alcor members are likely to find plenty of interest here. In fact, a good portion of the speakers are Alcor members! There are three key topics or themes:

    Beyond Mortality: Preventing Negative Conditions Impacting Life
    Beyond Scarcity: Economy of Abundance
    Beyond Cruelty: Stop Discrimination, Create Compassion

Most obviously, Alcor members will immediately find relevant the first of these topics. Longer lives do not occur in a vacuum. The other topics consider some of the context we might hope for as we live longer lives. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have provided the original impetus for this event. As the summit page says:

There is an undeniable need for new technology, science, and social efficacy to empower human dignity and to minimize the destruction of life.

Dealing with the pandemic is front page news. Yet, another never-ceasing crisis goes under the radar—all people are aging from failing systems, people are suffering from scarcity, and people are affected by the cruelty of others.

SARS-CoV-2 is a war on human biology and a wake-up call for every person on the planet. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, or socioeconomic status. It can affect everybody, but it kills first the oldest, the weakest, and the poorest.

This world-wide killer infection has expanded the bandwidth of news feed and online events as people are trying to understand and strategize a solution. There is no question that human civilization is now alert to its own vulnerability. Rather than continuing with such vulnerability, we need to act at the biological core. The human genome must be strengthened and protected.

Expanding on the three themes:

1. Beyond Mortality: The disease of aging leaves people helpless, locked in a system of sickness and death rather than a system of healthcare and life. We need new technology, science and social structures that promote positive conditions rather than negative conditions.
2. Beyond Scarcity: We must improve global quality of life. An economy of abundance is not about how much; it is about how good—a quality of life that provides basic human needs, freedom, and well-being, and that advances opportunity and potential.
3. Beyond Cruelty: Discrimination of people because of sex, age, race, gender, appearance, religion, beliefs, and political and social status are global, verifiable, and prevalent. What would society need to overcome misperception and cognitive bias? With an abundance of compassion, discrimination has no place or purpose.

The speakers currently confirmed are: Ben Goertzel, Max More, Natasha Vita-More, Nell Watson, Jose Cordeiro, Anders Sandberg, David Brin, Betelhem Dessie, Alishba Imran, Michael Masucci, Kat Cotter, Zoltan Istvan, Maria Entraigues-Abramson, Ryan O’Shea, David Ernst, David Wood, David Kelley, and Didier Coeurnelle.

More Information.

Register.

–Max More
Ambassador and President Emeritus, Alcor Foundation

Our Response to Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for the practice of cryonics. Alcor remains committed to providing cryopreservation when needed. However, Alcor members should be aware of limitations during the pandemic. If you are hospitalized, cryonics personnel deployed for standby services might not be allowed to visit you inside the hospital. Electronic contact with care providers and your family will instead be relied upon for condition updates. Prompt access to begin cryonics stabilization procedures after legal death may not be possible in hospitals.

Alcor or its contractor partners will negotiate for fastest possible access to begin procedures. If you become terminally ill, home hospice care or care at a cooperating hospice facility is recommended to permit faster cryonics response than hospital care. Since the best care is possible near Alcor, Alcor will continue to financially assist terminal members with relocation to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Due to loss of service from contract surgeons during the pandemic, and due to concern about circulating large volumes of infectious fluid with potential generation of airborne droplets during mixing, Alcor will not be using its normal cryoprotectant perfusion machines during the pandemic. Alcor will instead use the procedure Field Cryoprotectant Perfusion FCP. In FCP, only the head is perfused with vitrification solution via the carotid arteries using a simplified perfusion procedure in which no fluids are recirculated. This procedure means that during the pandemic, whole body cryonics patients will be cryopreserved without receiving any chemical protection from freezing injury below the neck.

Whether FCP will be performed in the field, as its name suggests, or in Alcor’s facility will depend upon logistics and surgeon availability on a case-by-case basis. Further precautions will apply to cases known to be positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. For COVID-19 cases, initial stabilization in ice will be limited to an abbreviated list of anticoagulant and other medications circulated by several minutes of chest compressions with the head covered to prevent exhaled breath from entering the room.

These restrictions may change as personnel gain more experience doing cases with scrupulous infection control procedures, if perfusion machine design changes are made, and if normal surgical service during the pandemic can be secured. Alcor will work on all these problems at the same time that it does a comprehensive review of all infection control procedures to ensure a safe baseline of operations during a highly contagious respiratory virus pandemic. If vaccine development takes longer than expected, there will be even greater efforts to safely return to normal practices by 2021. However, these are the limitations that Alcor is currently operating under. This temporary “fall back” position is necessary for the safety and continued availability of the limited number of specialized personnel whom Alcor has available to provide cryonics care for everyone during these extraordinary times.

Member A-1774 becomes Alcor’s 176th patient on January 14, 2020

A-1774 is a non-confidential, 77-year old, male with whole-body arrangements for cryopreservation. He had been a member since 2000. He was pronounced legally deceased in Scottsdale, AZ very shortly after being relocated from his home state by medical flight.

Alcor member A-1774 was in a rural area about two (2) hours away from a major airport, and over 1,600 miles away from Alcor. A healthcare provider contacted Alcor on Thursday, January 9 to inform Alcor the member may not have much time left.

Alcor’s Medical Response Director, Blake Honiotes, and Readiness Coordinator, Sarah Kelly, collected clinical data on the member. Vitals indicated no evidence that there was an immediate risk to the member; however, Alcor elected to send Eric Vogt, co-founder of International Cryomedicine Experts (ICE), to the member’s location to assess the situation further.

Eric arrived at the member’s bedside in less than 10 hours and, after assessing the member’s condition, concurred there was no immediate risk. While visiting the member, Eric built trust with the member’s daughter, Lori, who permitted Alcor to use her first name. Eric explained to Lori that Alcor can help provide relocation assistance for terminal members and she agreed to move her father to Arizona.

Eric from I.C.E. said, “With the information provided by ICE, Alcor was able to make informed decisions to ensure the best outcome for its member. ICE participated in discussions with Alcor on how to relocate the member due to inclement weather conditions, location to nearest major metropolitan airport, and the member’s health.”

Eric, Blake, and Sarah relocated the member to a short driving distance from Alcor on Sunday, January 12. Lori accompanied her father and Eric on the trip. In less than 7 hours after arriving in Arizona, the member suffered cardiac arrest. Protocol was initiated within 3 minutes and the member arrived in Alcor’s Operating Room within 72 minutes from pronouncement.

Blake, Alcor’s MRD, said, “Once the Member arrived, I was able to perform my own assessment and it was determined that a standby was warranted. When the patient suffered legal death, Alcor and ICE provided rapid stabilization and transport and surgical assistance. This collaboration between Alcor and ICE sets a great precedent that should be strived for in all future cases.”

This case is a first for Alcor in many ways. It’s the first case under Alcor’s new outcomes-based contract with ICE. It’s the first case for Alcor’s new MRD, Blake Honiotes. It’s the first case of 2020 and it’s the first case to take advantage of the newly increased relocation assistance for terminal members of up to $15,000as approved by the Alcor Board of Directors in December 2019.

The member’s daughter, Lori, who is not a cryonicist, told Alcor, “I’d just like to say thank you to Eric from I.C.E for making the last wishes of my father as painless as can be. If it weren’t for him and the members of Alcor, I’m not sure how I would have gotten through it. And thank you to Blake and Sarah. They treated me like family. I was lost after dad passed and I really needed that.” Lori toured the Alcor facility while she was in Arizona and returned to her home the evening of Monday, January 13.

A full case report will be published.

Member A-2408 becomes Alcor’s 175th patient on November 16, 2019

A-2408 was a confidential, 52-year-old, male with whole-body arrangements for cryopreservation. He had been a member since 2009 and had stage IV lung cancer. He was pronounced clinically dead in New Jersey on November 16, 2019, at 07:29 hrs. MST.

He was flown to Alcor for cryoprotection and entered cryogenic cool down on November 17, 2019. Three members of the Alcor New York group drove to New Jersey to assist with shipping the patient to Alcor; their participation was invaluable. He become Alcor’s 175th patient.

Member A-2366 becomes Alcor’s 174th patient on October 6, 2019

Member A-2366, a confidential, male neuro member was pronounced on October 6, 2019 in Washington state. After arriving early in the morning of October 7, A-2366 was perfused with cryoprotectant and entered cool down.

Two team members arrived at the member’s location on September 29 to check on him. That morning, we learned that the member’s doctor said A-2366 was better and seemed to be recovering. The doctor and family looked to moving him to a skilled nursing facility if he continued to improve. The Alcor team felt that he was still at significant risk and so remained. The next day, while we continued to be concerned about his condition, his doctor remained optimistic, saying that he continued to improve slowly. On October 1 we were told that the hospital planned to discharge the member to return to a rehab facility. Plans changed frequently.

On the morning of October 5, the hospice nurse said she believed the member would go down in the next 48 hours. Alcor CEO, Max More, immediately called for a deployment by Suspended Animation. They arrived that afternoon. Less than 24 hours later, on October 6, the member was pronounced, and SA conducted a washout and other standard procedures. On October 7, A-2366 arrived at Alcor and underwent cryoprotective perfusion followed by cool down for long-term storage.

Member A-3217 becomes Alcor’s 173rd patient on September 30, 2019

A-3217, a confidential, 55-year old, female, neurocryopreservation member, was pronounced legally dead on September 30, 2019 in Alberta, Canada.

A-3217 had been a member of Alcor since January 31, 2019. In August her family alerted Alcor that her cancer was progressing. Alcor suggested relocating the member to a Scottsdale, Arizona hospice. This would eliminate transport delays and avoid possible legal and regulatory problems due to Alberta’s jurisdiction. A late relocation is never easy and the family decided not to pursue that option.

While engaging in a standby for another member on the West Coast, Alcor heard from the family on September 30, 2019. Her physicians did not expect her to live more than 24 hours. Based on new information, a medical advisor agreed that an immediate deployment was called for. Alcor immediately relocated a team member from the West Coast to Alberta and engaged International Cryomedicine Experts (ICE) to take charge of stabilization and transport. Several Alcor staff provided additional coordination and logistics planning.

The member had declined unexpectedly rapidly. Just the day before pronouncement, the member’s spouse said that doctors thought A-3217 had another couple of weeks. The shortage of time combined with bad weather (delaying flights from the USA) and local regulations to create major barriers to a timely response. The challenges were met with strong teamwork, cooperation from the family, and efforts by the funeral home to expedite the required transit permit. Team members administered some medications early on followed by additional medications when more team members arrived.

The funeral home had originally told Alcor that it would take three days to get a transit permit. By going to the relevant office in person they hoped to get a same-day release. In the end, we had to wait overnight as the patient cooled to get clearance to move. Even though there was no funding for a private flight, Alcor decided to secure one in order to shave crucial time off the transport. This enabled us to conduct cryoprotection despite a longer transport time than desired.

Members who do not provide funding for a private flight should not expect Alcor to arrange one. In this case, the decision was justified by our ability to also use the flight to get a full field neurocryopreservation kit into Canada.

A-3217 arrived at Alcor on October 1, 2019. After cryoprotection she went into cryogenic cooldown at 19:36 hrs.

Jianhau Ma, member A-3259, becomes Alcor’s 171st patient on August 8, 2019

Jianhau Ma, Alcor member A-3259, a non-confidential 50-year old female Alcor member with whole-body cryopreservation arrangements, was pronounced legally dead on August 8, 2019 in Boston, MA. She had stage IV ovarian cancer and had been an Alcor member for less than a month. Washout in the field was prevented by bad weather prohibiting the team from getting to the patient in time. In order to reduce ischemic time, the patient was flown by air ambulance to Alcor where whole-body perfusion was performed.

Cryogenic cooldown was initiated on August 9, 2019 and terminated on August 15, 2019. That day, Jianhau became Alcor’s 171st patient.

Gordon Norman, member A-1833, becomes Alcor’s 170th patient on May 26, 2019

Gordon Norman, Alcor member A-1833, a non-confidential whole body member, was pronounced legally dead on May 26, 2019 in Knoxville, TN. Mr. Norman, a member since 2000, received a brief standby followed by stabilization, field blood substitution, and transport by Suspended Animation in Knoxville and underwent cryoprotective perfusion at Alcor on May 27. That day, he became Alcor’s 170th patient.