On March 6, 2013, following pronouncement, we cryopreserved (confidential) 91-year old member A-2605 (neurocryopreservation option), who became Alcor’s 116th patient.
On February 22, 2013, Alcor received a call from the son of one of our members. His father had been admitted to a hospital in Chapel Hill, NC for an infection, but a previously diagnosed condition of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) had progressed to the point of him losing the ability to swallow (eat or drink). His doctors gave him a “failure to thrive” diagnosis. In absence of low quality-of-life interventions, the doctors were soon suggesting to the family that they move him to a hospice facility for his remaining time.
The family were surprised that he was that sick, but a family friend who is a nurse thought he maybe had a week or two to live. The son, who was very supportive of his father’s wishes, and other family members decided to relocate our member to Scottsdale to enter into hospice. After discussing the options and their costs — including driving, flying a commercial flight, and using a medically equipped jet and medical crew — the eventual decision was made a few days later to use the chartered medical jet.
We made arrangements with a hospice in Phoenix to accept the member. On February 25, the hospice confirmed availability of a place at a hospital in Paradise Valley about 7 miles from Alcor. Our member arrived on Tuesday February 26, early in the evening. Our equipment and the emergency vehicle were stationed at the hospital, and Aaron Drake, Alcor’s Medical Response Director stayed at a hotel down the street that evening. Not knowing how long our member’s decline might take, two trained standby team members from Southern California drove to Scottsdale, arriving late on the 27th.
From the 27th on, someone was on site at all times, with at least two team members on site at all times from 9:00 am on the 28th. Another Phoenix-area team member and one from Florida also participated in the standby. To better monitor the patient’s decline, the patient was put on telemetry so that his vital signs could be monitored continuously by a full-time staff. Our procedures were explained to several members of staff at the hospital, including the Associate Chief Medical Officer of the hospice.
After some ups and downs in the patient’s condition, on the morning of Wednesday March 6, the patient stopped breathing and was officially pronounced at 8:45 am. Five team members participated during the stabilization since it occurred right around shift change. A-2605 arrived in Alcor’s operating room at 9:46 am. Cryoprotective perfusion was concluded at 2:48 pm. The following day, the family of the patient came for a tour of Alcor.