From Alcor News Number 10, March 10th, 2003
by Charles Platt
Less than a week after the case of Thomas Munson (reported in the previous Alcor News), we responded to a call from a Los Angeles emergency room where Alcor member A-1025 had experienced cardiac arrest. Although he requested anonymity, he had become well known among cryonicists over a period of more than two decades, having joined Alcor originally in September, 1977 when our organ donor documents identified us as “The Alcor Society for Solid State Hypothermia.” When his legal death was pronounced at 10:52 PM PST on Saturday, March 1st, 2003, A-1025 was our oldest patient, aged 88.
Purely by coincidence we had deployed a standby team at another hospital less than a mile away, where we were concerned about a member who had been suffering from pneumonia complicated by congestive heart failure. Since she was beginning to show a marked improvement (which we are pleased to report has continued), the standby team for her case, including David Hayes, paramedic Larry Johnson, and some Southern California members, quickly moved to the emergency room where A-1025 was located.
This also happened to be the first night of our training sessions in Arizona at Creekside Lodge, a luxury motel owned by former Alcor vice-president David Pizer. Fortunately we had overstaffed the training sessions as a precautionary measure and were able to continue without two of our instructors who were dealing with events in California.
A-1025 had been incapacitated alone at home and had suffered two days of dehydration before being taken to the emergency room. A staff physician administered heparin and did chest compressions, but we were not able to witness this, and we speculate that the stressful conditions in a Los Angeles hospital on a Saturday night may have allowed very little time for CPR on someone who would have been perceived as beyond help. We believe that A-1025 probably was subjected to a combination of dehydration and inadequate heparinization.
Some blood clots were found during the washout procedure, and the usual 20 liters of solution were insufficient to obtain a clear venous return. The patient was delayed overnight by mortuary paperwork problems and reached Alcor by ground transportation at 4:35 PM PST on Sunday, March 2nd. We regret that he failed to perfuse as well as our previous four cases.
On the upside, he lived long enough to reach the emergency room before he was pronounced. If legal death had occurred earlier while he was still in his home, he could have been subjected to an autopsy.
Many thanks to Dr. Jerry Lemler for managing the case of A-1025 while our director of suspension services was running Alcor’s training sessions. We hope to augment this brief summary when we have time to assemble reports from all the people who were involved. Our thanks, once again, to our Southern California team members who responded to yet another case which occurred without warning.