X-Message-Number: 16371
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 11:37:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Pascal

I won't do a point-by-point reply to Pascal because there isn't time in
anyone's life to write or read that much text. David, is it a deliberate
policy of yours to overload the reader with circumlocution, or can you
simply not help yourself?

I do extract the following information from the most recent Pascal letter.

Yes, CI spent years using highly concentrated glycerol on its patients,
without ramping up to that concentration, despite repeated suggestions
from other cryonics organizations, a cryobiologist, and a medical
physicist, pointing out that this technique was well known to cause
osmotic shock, and the viscosity of the solution, coupled with short
perfusion time, would result in inadequate penetration, hence inadequate
protection. Still, CI refused to change its procedures because it will
only do so after it verifies everything for itself, and apparently,
despite the extreme gravity of the concerns, it felt no urgency about this
matter. For _many years_ it chose not to verify that ramped perfusion
might be better. This is why I referred to CI as an "island of

Yes, CI cools patients very slowly initially, but now it _may_ change this
procedure. Again, CI has been told repeatedly over a period of years that
slow initial cooling virtually guarantees the continuation of destructive
chemical processes, but it won't change its habits until it has done its
own studies. This is particularly bizarre, since elementary chemistry is
involved here, not some arcane or controversial aspect of cryobiology.
Reactions occur faster at higher temperatures. I would hardly think that
CI needs to perform its own tests to verify this, but, David suggests that
this is so.

If I were at CI, I might feel a bit unhappy that the organization is only
now getting around to some very elementary improvements that could have
reduced damage to human beings during the past ten or more years. I might
wonder why it took so long for CI to make these changes. I might wonder if
there are other existing procedures at CI which are also suboptimal, and
may be improved only after more years of waiting.

This is why Eugene Leitl used the phrase "criminal negligence." I don't
agree with that phrase and would not have used it, but I understand his
feelings of frustration.

Lastly David suggests that I should talk about Alcor instead, and mention
how badly they have handled some cases. This is standard CI policy: Divert
criticism to the competitor. Sorry, David, the comparison is not apt.
While I agree that Alcor may have _mismanaged_ some cases before Jerry
Lemler joined the organization, inadvertant mismanagement is not the same
as a stubborn, consciously pursued _policy_ that is likely to have harmful

As for Eugene Leitl making his "Mengele" comparison, does that excuse you
for making your own Nazi comparison? I thought you were the ethical one,
expressing your contempt and disgust for such low debating tactics. Ethics
should be made of sterner stuff.


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