Summer 2021 Meta-Analysis Report

The second quarter 2021 issue of Cryonics includes a report on Alcor Case Metrics 2000-2020. This begins with a selection of case data for the years of 2019 and 2020 followed by a look at the 141 cases in the 21-year period from 2000 to 2020. (2000 was picked as the starting point because that year saw the introduction of vitrification technologies at Alcor.)

It’s not uncommon to find people on the internet making claims about the percentage of cases that are straight freezes, or that involve autopsies, and so on. Sometimes these lack any support and at other times the evidence is limited. The meta-analysis makes it possible to examine these numbers objectively and as accurately as possible.

For instance, in the 21 year period 2000 to 2020, 6% of cases involved an autopsy, 13 or 14% involved unattended deaths, and 23% were straight freeze. Cardiopulmonary support was provided in 66% of cases, cryoprotective perfusion was achieved in 77%, and (so far) 10% of cases have been “field cryopreservation”

See the accompanying article, “Alcor Case Metrics: Scope and Comments” by Aschwin de Wolf and Michael Benjamin for thoughts on the usefulness of the meta-analysis results. Although some factors influencing the quality of outcomes is very hard for a cryonics organization to control, none should be considered completely outside the realm of influence. This analysis helps to show where to focus our efforts. The next step in this project is to identify trends and correlation.

–Max More

Our Response to Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for the practice of cryonics. Alcor remains committed to providing cryopreservation when needed. However, Alcor members should be aware of limitations during the pandemic. If you are hospitalized, cryonics personnel deployed for standby services might not be allowed to visit you inside the hospital. Electronic contact with care providers and your family will instead be relied upon for condition updates. Prompt access to begin cryonics stabilization procedures after legal death may not be possible in hospitals.

Alcor or its contractor partners will negotiate for fastest possible access to begin procedures. If you become terminally ill, home hospice care or care at a cooperating hospice facility is recommended to permit faster cryonics response than hospital care. Since the best care is possible near Alcor, Alcor will continue to financially assist terminal members with relocation to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Due to loss of service from contract surgeons during the pandemic, and due to concern about circulating large volumes of infectious fluid with potential generation of airborne droplets during mixing, Alcor will not be using its normal cryoprotectant perfusion machines during the pandemic. Alcor will instead use the procedure Field Cryoprotectant Perfusion FCP. In FCP, only the head is perfused with vitrification solution via the carotid arteries using a simplified perfusion procedure in which no fluids are recirculated. This procedure means that during the pandemic, whole body cryonics patients will be cryopreserved without receiving any chemical protection from freezing injury below the neck.

Whether FCP will be performed in the field, as its name suggests, or in Alcor’s facility will depend upon logistics and surgeon availability on a case-by-case basis. Further precautions will apply to cases known to be positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. For COVID-19 cases, initial stabilization in ice will be limited to an abbreviated list of anticoagulant and other medications circulated by several minutes of chest compressions with the head covered to prevent exhaled breath from entering the room.

These restrictions may change as personnel gain more experience doing cases with scrupulous infection control procedures, if perfusion machine design changes are made, and if normal surgical service during the pandemic can be secured. Alcor will work on all these problems at the same time that it does a comprehensive review of all infection control procedures to ensure a safe baseline of operations during a highly contagious respiratory virus pandemic. If vaccine development takes longer than expected, there will be even greater efforts to safely return to normal practices by 2021. However, these are the limitations that Alcor is currently operating under. This temporary “fall back” position is necessary for the safety and continued availability of the limited number of specialized personnel whom Alcor has available to provide cryonics care for everyone during these extraordinary times.

New Medical Response Director

On Monday September 17, 2018, following a series of interviews with promising candidates, Alcor offered the position of Medical Response Director to Christopher Divver. Chris accepted and began work the same day.

Chris comes to Alcor with more than 35 years of public service. Chris joined the U.S. Navy in 1990, having served overseas during the first Gulf War aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) fueling aircraft. Afterwards, Chris volunteered as a firefighter and hazardous materials technician and eventually was hired by a fire department in New Jersey, where, after 20 years of service, he retired as a company officer.

Chris has been a National Registry paramedic since 1999 and a State of Arizona certified paramedic since 2017, with proficiency in both ground and flight settings. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from Argosy University with an undergrad degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University. In addition to a Certified Public Manager certification from Arizona State University, Chris was the first company officer from his fire department to be accepted to and graduate from the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy—a four-year management and leadership course that examines how to exercise leadership when dealing with difficult or unique community challenges.

Chris has authored several published research papers, print and electronic magazine articles, as well as two novels. He lives in Peoria, AZ with his wife, Karen, and their two fur-babies, Clark and Ellen.

You can find contact information for Chris on the Christopher Divver page.

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.


We have had 15 deployments in the last year for Alcor members, including 2 this past month. A suspension was performed in 11 of those deployments. Alcor collaborated with Suspended Animation’s team on 4 of these responses.

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


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.