Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

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 (MST) stating that the patient had died. The hospital found the patient without vital signs and doctors declared her deceased at 08:30. 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. 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. A CT scan was performed with the patient in liquid nitrogen. The scan showed some shrinkage and uniform perfusion with no sign of ice formation.
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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.

A-1700, Case Summary, Patient 144

Due to privacy restrictions that Alcor Life Extension Foundation respects, we can provide only minimal details in this case summary.

On January 25, 2016, Alcor was notified by the friend of an Alcor member that the member had been pronounced legally dead the previous day in Massachusetts after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. The member had specified that Alcor should cryopreserve “any part of the brain possible”. Unable to receive details from the family, Alcor deployed Medical Response Director, Aaron Drake, to recover the member by the binding authority of the member’s legal documents for cryopreservation before possible autopsy or cremation might occur.

After some delays locating the member without information from the family, cooling to dry ice temperature began on January 27 followed by subsequent transport to Alcor and cooling to liquid nitrogen temperature for long-term storage. With the assistance of Alcor’s legal counsel in sensitively communicating the member’s wishes to the family in their time of grief, a final viewing by the family was possible before dry ice cooling began.

A-2889 Mark Lee Miller, Case Summary, Patient 143

Mark Lee Miller, Alcor member A-2889, lived in Costa Mesa, California and suffered from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mark, aged 61, served eight years in the Army and worked for the FBI in Orange County for 33 years. On December 31, 2015 at approximately 22:58 PST, Mr Miller suffered a sudden non-witnessed cardiac arrest. Although family members were near his bedside, they were unsure of the actual time when the member took his final breath. He was pronounced legally deceased in Costa Mesa, California at 23:55 PST (00:55 in Arizona) by the hospice nurse who had been called to the home by the family. Miller, a whole body member, became Alcor’s 143rd patient on December 31, 2015.

Mr Miller had planned to relocate close to Alcor to enter into hospice. Unfortunately, he declined more rapidly than expected, eliminating any opportunity to fly to Scottsdale. Alcor asked Suspended Animation to visit his home to evaluate his condition in an effort to determine deployment strategies. At this time he had good oxygenation by mask. Nevertheless, Mr Miller arrested a few hours following the visit, December 31, 2015. This unexpectedly rapid decline led to a delay before cooling and stabilization could commence by SA. A field washout was carried out in California.

On arrival at the location of field washout, the patient’s nasopharyngeal temperature was 15.0 degC. When the SA team arrived at Alcor at 11:45 PST/12:45 MST on January 1, nasopharyngeal temperature was 5.4 degC. Cryoprotection was concluded about five hours later and cool down to long-term storage begun. A CT scan was conducted at a later date. More information will be forthcoming in a case report, including the CT data.

–Max More

A-2878, Cormac Seachoy, Case Summary Patient 142

Cormac Seachoy (member A-2878), age 27, lived in Bristol, UK (England’s sixth largest city) and was a graduate of the University of Bristol where he was the vice president of their Social Enterprise Project. He also worked as the website coordinator at Bristol Cable. He volunteered for many organizations including Transparency International, an anti-corruption charity in Sierra Leone. Cormac suffered from metastatic neuroendocrine cancer of the colon. He was pronounced on December 16th, 2015. Stabilization, cool down, and transport was performed by Cryonics UK and the perfusion was performed by Aaron Drake, with the assistance of Rowland Brothers Mortuary. Cormac, a whole body member, became Alcor’s 142nd patient on December 16.

Cormac had intended to relocate to Scottsdale via air ambulance and enter an assisted-living facility but wanted to put off leaving his family until it became necessary. We realized that this made it likely that we would have to conduct a field cryoprotection in England. We first heard from and started discussing this case with Tim Gibson of Cryonics UK in late November. With support from his family, he was able to complete the paperwork and get finances in place on December 9.

In a deployment discussion on December 14, we were going on the basis of a current estimate of two more weeks to live. At that time, we were still planning options involving an air ambulance and either hospitalization or hospice. At the same time, his doctors warned that, despite their prediction of two weeks remaining, his bowel could perforate at any time and he could die suddenly and without warning.

We didn’t know at the time that he had only two days left. However, we had also planned for the possibility of doing a field cryoprotection, probably with the assistance of Cryonics UK. Alcor’s Medical Response Director, Aaron Drake, prepared to fly to Cormac’s location and perform standby, stabilization, and field cryoprotection with the assistance of Tim (who was the only member of C-UK available). Cormac, however, was declining rapidly on the 16th and arrested before Aaron could arrive. While Aaron was in the air, Max More discussed options with Tim.

Tim made the 180-mile trip from Sheffield to Bristol, arriving at 6:49 pm MST – a little over two hours after pronouncement. Instead of Aaron going to Bristol, the plan was now for him to meet Tim and the patient in London. Tim carried out the stabilization and transport to London essentially solo (with some help from long-term Alcor member Garret Smyth, who drove from London to Bristol). Max was able to get our international mortuary company in London where we store supplies to open early to accommodate Tim’s expected arrival time. Aaron arrived in London in time to improve the cannulation, complete cryoprotection, and see the patient begin cooling to dry ice temperature.

In order to avoid complications over the holidays, we held Cormac on dry ice for a little longer. He arrived at Alcor early in the evening on December 30. Cormac, our 142nd patient, is now at liquid nitrogen temperature at Alcor.