Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

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.

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 Tuesday, 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.