On Friday, November 1, 2013 a newly signed up international member became Alcor’s 118th patient. A-2694, a confidential whole-body member, was declared clinically dead on October 27th in the Czech Republic.
A-2694 completed sign-up paperwork just four days before being pronounced and we confirmed receipt of payment for his cryopreservation on the day of pronouncement. The patient was admitted to a hospital in the Czech Republic on Wednesday October 23. Initially, a relative told us that doctors had claimed that conducting cryopreservation procedures in that country would be illegal. That turned out to be incorrect, although there is a requirement to conduct a postmortem. Fortunately, either because of the patient’s dual citizenship or because a close relative was physically present to dismiss that requirement, no postmortem was required. Although payment for cryopreservation had not yet been received, the patient’s brother had the wisdom to wire sufficient funds to allow us to begin preparations (with the invaluable assistance of international funeral directors Rowland Brothers in London) and to send Medical Response Director Aaron Drake to the Czech Republic.
We had hoped to perform a field cryoprotection for the first time. This would have allowed us to cryoprotect the patient and ship him on dry ice. Just recently, we had positioned supplies in England for this purpose. Unfortunately, this turned out to be impossible. In part, this was due to the extremely close time frame for the patient’s sign-up. More critically, however, we ran into incredibly bad luck in that on the day our supplies were to be moved from England to the patient’s location, England was hit by the massive St. Jude storm. Winds of up to 80 mph led to cancelled flights and other major travel disruptions. Even if the patient had been well enough to move him to Germany (as we had suggested), field cryoprotection would not have been feasible.
The patient’s location in the Czech Republic added further difficulties. It turned out that the hospital lacked any ice facilities – a situation that would never happen in a US hospital. When the patient’s condition (based on very limited medical information) seemed to be critical, Aaron Drake got on a flight to the Czech Republic on Sunday October 27. The patient was pronounced while Aaron was still in transit, then placed in the hospital morgue at around 2 degrees Celsius. All the dry ice in the area was purchased and used to cool and pack the patient for air transport to Alcor. A-2694 arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport early in the evening of Friday November 1 and at Alcor around 9:00 pm. The transfer into cool down took a little over an hour. At the time of writing (November 7), the patient is close to completing the cool down process.