To better determine when a standby would be initiated and at what level, a Deployment Committee has been established. Comprised of Executive Director Jennifer Chapman, Transport Coordinator Aaron Drake and Chief Medical Advisor Steven Harris. Collectively the committee will review the details of a medical procedure or condition and evaluate the level of response and monitoring Alcor will undertake per its Comprehensive Member Standby program.
In February 2009 Alcor initiated an ambitious and coordinated effort to improve its training, stabilization, and cryopreservation capabilities. Alcor’s new Transport Coordinator and paramedic Aaron Drake is undergoing thorough education about the objectives and technologies of cryonics. Aaron will also play an important part in Alcor’s national training program. An innovative questionnaire is being created and refined to track and map all individuals that are available for case work listing their specific skills and experience. One room in the Alcor building is currently being transformed to a designated “readiness room” to track and monitor capability and (potential) cases. This week will also see the return of periodic case simulations at the Alcor building.
Alcor is further undergoing a comprehensive review of its standby kit inventory list, equipment, and protocols. Our short term objective is to quickly restore physical capabilities in areas with high numbers of Alcor members. When new equipment is made available to these areas, training sessions will be organized to educate medical professionals and volunteers about its use. The Alcor R&D committee will be engaged in a detailed review of stabilization technologies and protocols. After evaluating the available technical options for induction of hypothermia, cardiopulmonary support, and remote blood washout in terms of cost, effectiveness, and operation requirements, decisions will be made about which technologies to adopt and corresponding documentation will be generated.
The Alcor Transport Technicians policy will be reviewed to eliminate waste and strengthen its incentive structure. A closer look at Alcor’s capabilities and protocols in non-US countries such as the United Kingdom will be another priority for the organization.
Ongoing and specific progress reports on these topics will be published on the Alcor news blog and in Cryonics magazine. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions or want to be part of this endeavor.
Alcor recently performed a 13-day standby for a member in Florida who was hospitalized for medical reasons and an emergency procedure. Alcor was prompted to launch a standby under the Comprehensive Member Standby (CMS) program, an especially good idea because there were medical factors complicating the surgery. First notice of the case arrived late afternoon, and that evening we deployed 3 Alcor personnel (who collectively have dozens of cases experience) by commercial aircraft with a full remote stand-by and stabilization kit.
The kit included a portable ice bath, full medications, mechanical chest compressor for cardiopulmonary support, Air Transportable Perfusion system for remote blood washout, and advanced monitoring equipment. This was the first field test of our new compact kit system, and it appeared to have everything we anticipated needing. Suspended Animation, Inc, helped us by providing coverage during the flight, assistance with coverage during surgery, and by providing a truck and compressed air tanks which relieved us of the need to locally procure those items ourselves.
Fortunately, the member’s condition improved, and transport was not required despite the lengthy standby.
We have ordered fourteen ice bath frames, which once constructed, will bring our ice bath inventory to 16. These new design icebaths fold into a package that is transportable by air, but is inexpensive and rapid to assemble. This is the first step, and one of the longest manufacturing lead-time items, in building our new stabilization kits.
When the Alcor management changed in September 2005 to the current team, we developed a new policy of not talking about what grand plans we have for the organization, instead choosing to talk about things that we have completed. We implemented this policy change because the management team (consisting of Steve Van Sickle, Jennifer Chapman, and myself) were disappointed members. We were all weary of the empty promises, the distinct lack of improvement in technical capability and the lack of responsible fiscal oversight. We very deliberately set out to rebuild Alcor into an organization of which we could be proud, and we were enthusiastic about bringing positive change. Though it is a lengthy process, in my opinion we are succeeding, and we’d like to present a little perspective on the changes of late and on the challenges yet ahead.