Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

New Medical Response Director

Starting today (July 18), we welcome Josh Lado as he steps into the role of Medical Response Director. Josh comes to us from John C. Lincoln hospital where he had a range of roles and responsibilities. In addition to having been an EMT for over 10 years, he assisted the nurses in Pre-Op and Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) with patient care, recovery of patients after anesthesia and assisting family members to answer questions they have. He also operated the Stealth Machine. This is a navigation unit surgeons use to help place screws into vertebra, assist in brain tumor resections, and placement of shunts into a patient’s brain.

He has also been in charge of Human Tissue Tracking for the hospital’s In-Patient and Out-Patient Surgery. He maintained a database that controls inventory and helped the hospital stay compliant with federal laws and competed a weekly inventory for all tissue in the hospital and worked with vendors for outdated product.

He also worked with the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Trauma Service personnel to train hospital employees for emergencies including Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) events. He has an Applied Science Degree in Paramedic Studies, and Applied Science degree in Fire Science, with numerous FEMA and related certificates.

During his time at John C. Lincoln, Josh was exposed to many different areas and, by all accounts, was highly proactive in solving problems beyond his required role. While working in surgery, he became very familiar with many instruments used and how to pass them to a surgeon. He assisted anesthesiologists with intubation of patients and IV access points. He has worked in high stress areas such as the trauma room in the Emergency Department and the OR Trauma Room and helped in the ICU with critical patients.

In talking with Josh, we were impressed not only by his range of skills but also by his attitude and interest in learning more about the science behind cryonics. Josh will receive thorough training by his predecessor, Aaron Drake. (We are also bringing in several other individuals to refresh and update their training.) Aaron will continue to be available to consult with Alcor during parts of the year, to take on special projects, and to provide relief to Josh so that he is not on-call 24/7/365.

A-1624, James Baglivo, Patient 140

James Baglivo, winner of the Omni cryonics essay contest, becomes Alcor’s 140th patient.

James Baglivo, A-1624, was pronounced legally dead by today’s standards on August 25, 2015 at the age of 44, in New Jersey, USA. Baglivo, a neurocryopreservation member, became Alcor’s 140th patient.

Back in the early 1990s, Charles Platt birthed an idea and saw it through to completion: An “Immortality Prize” hosted by Omni Magazine, the winner of which would receive a cryopreservation free of charge. Some of us quite fondly remember Omni as a science and science fiction magazine published in print form from 1978 to 1995, founded by Kathy Keeton and her collaborator and future husband Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse magazine. Even when it was shut down by Guccione in early 1996 following the death of Keeton, the magazine’s reported print run was still over 700,000 copies per month. Offering a free cryopreservation as the prize for winning an essay contest apparently generated an unprecedented degree of exposure for cryonics and for Alcor.

James Baglivo was the winner of the Omni Magazine Immortality Prize. It took Mr Baglivo some time to complete his arrangements, his membership being finalized on January 18, 1996. His winning of the Prize turned out to be very fortunate for him. Mr Baglivo was involved in a major auto accident leading to hospitalization in 1991 and he carried the burden of a family history of diabetes and heart disease. At the time of the contest, he was only 22 years old. His essay won him a $120,00 life insurance policy that Alcor purchased on his behalf to pay the costs of cryopreservation when the time came. He also remained a member even though he had never responded to any notices or requests or communications of any kind in ten years. That lack of communication made responding effectively and speedily considerably more difficult.

On August 25, 2015, Alcor received an emergency notification from a nurse with an organ procurement company in New Jersey when she noticed that her deceased patient was wearing an Alcor medical alert bracelet. She told us he had died from sudden cardiac arrest about three hours prior earlier. We later learned that he had suffered three cardiac arrests: The first around 5:00 pm (Arizona time), the second around 10:00 pm in a New Jersey hospital where he was placed on a ventilator, and the third at 2:55 am immediately after removal from ventilator, at which point he was pronounced. Alcor was notified at 5:03 am through our emergency alert service.

Mr Baglivo’s mother also called and said that, because of her son’s young age of 44, the Medical Examiner was planning on performing an autopsy the next morning. Alcor immediately reached out to the ME’s office and strongly urged them to not abrogate this individual’s civil rights and instead consider waiving their authority to perform a destructive autopsy, in light of his written health directives with respect to disposition of his own remains.

After reviewing the documents and medical history that Alcor sent, coupled with the diagnostic imaging and blood draws that were obtained at the hospital, the ME’s office decided to forego the procedure and release the patient to Alcor. A local mortuary was found that would remove the patient from the morgue’s cooler, pack it in ice and allow us to use their prep room when we arrived later that same night.

Although initial success had been achieved in stopping the invasive autopsy, time was the driving factor in the decision-making process. There was insufficient time to retrieve the physical entirety of Baglivo and bring him to Alcor for a whole body cryoprotection. As it was, our options were limited to a straight freeze (with attendant massive damage from ice crystals) or a field neuro cryoprotection and transport on dry ice. I (Max More) decided to authorize a field cryoprotection. This enables us to cryoprotect the brain with minimal delay even when an operating room is not available.

The move from whole-body with no cryoprotection (and a long delay) to neurocryopreservation with field cryoprotection (and a much faster timeline) also enabled us to pay for an air ambulance. This was arranged by Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director, who was accompanied by Steve Graber, Alcor’s Technical and Readiness Coordinator, on the trip to Philadelphia with the surgical and perfusion supplies. Through the night, Drake performed the surgery and cannulation while Graber ran the portable pump-powered perfusion equipment and reached target concentration through a 15 step cryoprotection ramp. The team then used dry ice to provide rapid cooling in Alcor’s specially designed Neuro Shipper container.

The cooling continued during transportation the team returned with the same flight crew who were returning to Phoenix. More aggressive cooling commenced upon arrival at Alcor. A-1624 became Alcor’s 140th patient on August 25th, 2015.

A full case report will follow.

Recent Alcor Deployment

Response Team Activity
Aaron Drake and Steve Graber were deployed to Missouri in mid-July. We had received an urgent call regarding a 96-year-old member who was having difficulty breathing due to a bout of pneumonia. The head nurse had contacted Alcor a few weeks earlier to say that it may be time to consider hospice care for this elderly member, but his family was not ready for such a drastic change. Based on the initial level of concern expressed by the head nurse, the Alcor deployment committee immediately dispatched our emergency responders.

Suspended Animation deployed two team members to drive their emergency response vehicle to Missouri as a precautionary measure. By the time the Alcor team landed, the member had been hospitalized and quickly began showing signs of recovery. Over the next few days he recovered enough to return to the nursing home and the emergency responders soon departed.

This remote deployment was a good learning experience. The Alcor team met with the member’s supportive son and the hospice nurses. They discussed hospice care in Arizona, which would greatly benefit the member’s cryopreservation.

The team also laid some groundwork with the hospital where the member is often admitted due to recurring difficulties. All told, it was a worthwhile reconnaissance.

Readiness & Deployment

We were contacted a third time regarding a Washington-based member. He had been hospitalized for shortness of breath and was ultimately treated for blood clots in his lungs and leg. Two members, one in Arizona and the other in Minnesota, also proactively contacted Alcor regarding their upcoming surgeries, both with relatively low levels of risk.

We have updated our phone system and directory so that members will be able to easily notify Alcor regarding non-emergency surgeries, medical procedures and illnesses.

Alcor Readiness Coordinator Hired

We would like to welcome our newest staff member, Steve Graber. Steve will be working with Alcor’s Transport Coordinator to perform standbys, postmortem stabilization, and transport of Alcor patients to Alcor’s cryopreservation facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Additionally, he participates in training and outfitting regional groups around the world that assist with stabilization and transport of Alcor patients. Utilizing his design and fabrication skills, Steve will also work with Alcor’s Research Fellow, Equipment Fabricator, and R&D Committee to design, construct, test, and validate new procedures and equipment.

To read more about our new readiness coordinator click here: Steve Graber Bio

Readiness

Member Watch
Alcor currently has 8 members on our “watch list”. These individual situations range from pre-operative awareness and post-operative follow-up to monitoring the status of fragile members due to age and/or current medical conditions.

Team Training

Team Training
Alcor provided a three-day training course for a team sponsored by Terasem Movement, Inc. (a 501c3 not- for- profit organization). The team, consisting of five personnel who are paramedics/firefighters from Brevard County Fire Department, traveled to the Alcor facility in Scottsdale to tour and learn the field procedures. At the conclusion of their training, they participated in a multi-hour dry run scenario for the team to better understand the flow of the skills they had learned and for Alcor to evaluate the effectiveness of its newly designed training program.

Recent Deployments

April was a busy month for Alcor field work. Two Alcor members had
scheduled surgeries in Arizona during the last week of April. One of
the surgeries was deemed to be high risk. The surgeries were in
Tucson and Phoenix, one day apart. Alcor elected to perform
precautionary standbys for both of them, bringing in three team
members from Suspended Animation, Inc. (SA) from Florida for a joint
deployment exercise with Alcor personnel. This proved invaluable
because just prior to the surgeries, Alcor’s Standby Coordinator,
Regina Pancake, became ill, and Alcor’s Transport Coordinator, Aaron
Drake, was deployed to Canada for a last-minute non-member case in
Vancouver, British Columbia.

Four staff members from Critical Care Research, Inc. (CCR) also joined
the standbys on a voluntary basis to help out (thanks!) after driving the
SA transport vehicle from its California base to Arizona for the standbys.
Aaron Drake returned two days later, in time for the second higher risk
standby, after the family in Canada decided not to proceed with cryonics
arrangements.

Both surgeries were successful, and the members are recovering.
There was another deployment outside the USA in February of this year,
when Regina Pancake spent a week in England preparing a patient for
low temperature shipment to Alcor. A full report of this case will be
published soon.

Alcor’s Transport and Readiness Team Update

The last weekend of March, Alcor’s transport coordinator, Aaron Drake, and
readiness coordinator, Regina Pancake, conducted a training session at the
home of board of director member Michael Riskin, for the Southern
California team. It was a great turnout of 16 people, including everyone at
Critical Care Research, who drove out the Suspended Animation’s rescue
vehicle to familiarize the Southern California team with the capability that
it brings to the region. The team also received the new Alcor ice bath/thumper
unit and practiced the use of it during the session. It was an uplifting, productive
gathering that was run well by Southern California team coordinator Michael
Geisen who kept everyone on task till the end. Food was graciously provided
afterward by Michael Riskin in a relaxing atmosphere.

In the coming months, Alcor will be making the rounds to all the existing
teams, and to some newly forming teams, for training sessions. If you are
interested in participating, please email either Aaron@alcor.org
or Regina@alcor.org, who would love to hear from you, our members.
We will be dispersing the more advanced equipment for deployment to the
regions as we either receive it from our manufactures or finish construction
in-house. We look forward to meeting you all and hope that those who are in
the position to donate their time to our first responder teams will add us
to their busy lives.

Our community needs you all. In addition, we will be sending out a survey,
in the near future, that we would like potential team members to fill out.
We are sending it out in batches, so some of you will get it before others.
But please take the time to fill this out and tell us a little about yourselves.