X-Message-Number: 12366
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 12:42:23 EDT
Subject: premortem cryonics

Rion Snow asks about Hemlock, right-to-die etc. in relation to cryonics and 
the desirability of being able, in appropriate circumstances, to cryopreserve 
a patient before legal death.

This is politically and psychologically a very touchy subject. It is easy for 
the uninformed to form a false impression, or for the hostile to disseminate 
a false impression. 

The "right-to-life" people, and others of a religious or otherwise 
"conservative" persuasion, may just believe or say that we are trying to kill 
people, period; or that, even if we have good intentions, "right-to-die" is a 
slippery slope that must be avoided. Dr. Kevorkian's well-intended but 
imprudent actions have made things worse.  

My personal suggestion would be to support Hemlock if you are so inclined, 
but keep it separate from cryonics. The strange twists of psychology apply to 
Hemlock people as well as their opponents. I have given talks about cryonics 
at Hemlock meetings, but found no takers. People on both sides have tunnel 

In terms of near-future, practical measures, if you or a family member are 
terminal and want to initiate cryopreservation, my suggestion is as follows. 
Die in a state that does not have a law against suicide (even though it may 
have a law against assisted suicide, as in Michigan). Make prior arrangements 
with the Medical Examiner, and have him or a representative present when the 
patient (unassisted) commits suicide by an appropriate method. Obtain the 
Medical Examiner's prior assurance that he will sign the death certificate 
and waive autopsy.....I'm not saying that locating a cooperative Medical 
Examiner will be easy, but it MIGHT be possible, if handled carefully. 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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