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From: "STEVE BRIDGE, Alcor Midwest Coordinator, currently in Riverside CA." 
To: KEVIN <>
Message-Id: <"900518085953 72320.1642 EHG31-2"@CompuServe.COM>

     It has been a while since I told you all what is going on out here
at Alcor.  The past four weeks have been chaotic because of three major
events here:  The press release concerning Thomas Donaldson, The Reani-
mation Conference, and a sudden suspension.

     On April 30, Thomas Donaldson, Ph.D, a long-time member of the Alcor 
Life Extension Foundation, filed suit against John Van De Kamp, Attorney 
General of California, Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr., District Attorney of Santa 
Barbara, and James Vizzolini, Acting Coroner of Santa Barbara County in 
an attempt to obtain permission from the court to be placed into cryonic
suspension prior to his legal death.  Dr. Donaldson seeks a court order 
prohibiting all state and county officials from interfering in any way 
with his pre-mortem cryonic suspension, which would be done under medical

     Dr. Donaldson filed this lawsuit because he suffers from a malignant
brain tumor (a Grade II astrocytoma), which threatens to destroy a large 
portion of his brain.  Brain tumors of this kind grow very slowly, killing
over 80% of their victims within 5 years.  In the past, cryonic suspension
could start only after patients had been pronounced "dead" by a physician.
Dr. Donaldson wants legal permission for cryonic suspension BEFORE legal
death because, by the time his brain tumor kills him, it is likely to have
already destroyed enough of his brain to totally eliminate his chances of
future revival.  "Without the option of cryonic suspension before legal
death," says Dr. Donaldson, "I will die months before I am legally pro-
nounced dead."

     Thomas Donaldson, 46 years old, is a scientist, mathematician,
computer programmer, and science writer.  He is married and lives in 
Sunnyvale, California.  He has been interested in cryonics for 22 years
and has been an active member of cryonics organizations for 18 years.
Dr. Donaldson helped to start the Australian Cryonics Society while he
lived in that country several years ago.  He has been a regular contri-
butor to CRYONICS magazine and other cryonics publications for at least
15 years and has provided us with many important ideas.  Many of you
will know his science writing from the pages of ANALOG Science Fiction/
Science Fact, including the article, "24th Century Medicine."  He has 
also written a number of responses on this cryonics network.  Dr. 
Donaldson has been an Alcor Suspension Member since 1985.

     The news of this lawsuit seemed to explode on the media.  In the past
three weeks, those of us currently working at Alcor, including Carlos
Mondragon, Michael Darwin, Michael Perry, and myself have done over 60
interviews (radio, TV, print) with reporters from all over the U.S., plus
Germany, France, Spain, Australia, Great Britain, and Japan.  And this was
with Thomas Donaldson out of the country on vacation.  Thomas himself will
begin doing interviews (as health and time permit) during the next few
weeks, so the situation will only get busier.  We'll try to pass along word 
of major appearances when they are scheduled.

     As a promising benefit of all of these interviews, we have often
been able to give out Alcor's toll free number (800-367-2228).  So far
this has resulted in over 200 requests for free information from the 
public, perhaps the highest number we have ever had in a short time.  
Incidentally, Alcor's 800 number is now also good in California.

     The Reanimation Conference, sponsored by Saul Kent's Reanimation
Foundation, was held May 4-6 at the Clarion Hotel, Ontario, California.
I need to point out here that the Reanimation Foundation, which sponsored 
the conference, is a corporation being developed by Saul Kent and is NOT 
a part of Alcor.  Both organizations are somewhat connected with cryonics; 
but since Alcor is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, it can have no 
interest in or connection to a corporation such as the Reanimation Found-
ation, which exists to assist investors in making personal profits.

     The Conference took on new excitement because of the Donaldson case, 
and several reporters were in attendance.  Some of the talks were repeats 
of ones given at previous conferences, but a few were special to this 
conference.  Michael Darwin, Director of Research for Alcor, gave a 
speculative talk about possible reanimation scenarios, including a 
detailed look at what specific kinds of freezing damage may require 
nanotechnology.  More on this subject will be published in CRYONICS 
magazine during the next few months.  Mark Volker, Ph.D candidate at 
U of Arizona, gave a talk on the rapidly advancing field of scanning 
tunneling microscopes.

     One of the featured talks was by Thomas Donaldson's attorney,
Christopher Ashworth.  Ashworth outlined some of the approaches being 
taken in the law suit.  It is his contention that, since we cannot at
this time prove whether or not cryonic suspension will actually keep
someone in such a condition that they could be revived, he cannot
argue the case on the basis of whether or not cryonics is workable.
Instead, he feels that he has a very strong case for Right to Privacy
(a right specifically in the State of California's Constitution) and
Right to Due Process in seeking permission for Donaldson to undergo
what probably will be legally considered "assisted suicide."  Now I
know and you know and Ashworth knows that the intent of the action is
nothing like suicide at all, and this will be pointed out to the judge.
Even so, under the laws of California, at the beginning of the cryonics
procedure Donaldson will be in a condition that California law calls
"alive," and at the end of the procedure he will be what California
law labels as "dead."  Ashworth estimates the first ruling will be
given in two-three months, with appeals as high as the California 
Supreme Court likely to last another 7-10 months.  

     Obviously, this is a case of great significance for cryonics.  A 
favorable ruling would presumably allow at least some dying patients to 
choose to go into suspension before their brains were damaged.  It 
would also mean that those suspensions could be planned for and scheduled 
-- resulting in better treatment and fewer chances of things going badly 
for the patient.  Needless to say, pursuing this lawsuit will be very
expensive for Thomas.  A "Thomas Donaldson Defense Fund" will probably
be set up soon.

     Alcor now has 14 patients in cryonic suspension.  The latest
patient was an emergency case in a Pacific coast city in California.
Her husband had been in the process of signing up himself and his
family, but he neglected to tell us that his wife had breast cancer.
Suddenly, his wife, who had been doing well, was in the hospital with
severe liver and breathing problems.  No paperwork had been completed
for any of the family.  On a Tuesday evening, Mr. G. called us to say
that his wife was in the hospital in a coma.  This was the first we 
knew that she was even ill.  We wanted to come directly to the hospital
(a three-hour drive from Riverside) to do the paperwork and to prepare
for her suspension; but Mr. G. told us he was too tired to think about
it and he was going home to bed.  He would call us in the morning
after talking to his wife's physician.

     The next morning, Mrs. G. was in critical condition, so we got
our equipment ready and alerted staff that a potential suspension was
being considered.  This situation put Alcor in a tricky position.  We 
try to avoid taking last minute cases, because in the emotion of the
situation, the family cannot often legitimately give informed consent.
We don't wish to take advantage of grieving relatives, who may change
their minds later.  But this man WAS planning on filling out the papers,
as far as we knew (true, some people DO change their minds and don't ever 
sign up).  It was a tough call to make, but the Board of Directors
decided to take the patient, as long as the paperwork was completed
first and as long as the husband could provide the funding.

     Things got more complicated quickly.  Against the physician's
advice, Mr. G. insisted on putting his wife on a respirator.  We slowed
down preparations a bit, assuming this would give her a few more days.
Besides, we still did not have a firm go/no go decision from Mr. G.
While we were waiting to see how this would turn out, Mrs. G.'s
condition went downhill rapidly.  We rushed to complete loading and
were just ready to leave about 3:00 in the afternoon (Wednesday) when
the call came: Mrs. G. was in cardiac arrest.  Mike Darwin and I 
grabbed Board Member David Pizer, and the three of us drove Alcor's
ambulance and the back-up van to the hospital.

     Fortunately, Mrs. G's physician was very cooperative.  He gave
her the IV medications that Mike Darwin asked for and caused her head
to be packed in ice.  (NOTE: If you ever have to deal with a situation
like this, we prefer that the *entire body, including the head* be packed
in ice; but we will take what we can get.)  Still, the patient would have 
to wait for at least three hours until we arrived.

     Upon arrival, we immediately placed Mrs. G in the Portal Ice Bath
(PIB) and covered her with ice to begin more rapid cooling, in order to
protect the brain.  We left the patient in her room, while we sat down
with Mr. G to discuss the paperwork.  Please, folks, don't any of you
make us do that.  If you are considering signing up yourself or your 
family, you really MUST get that paperwork done right away.  It is very
difficult emotionally for us to sit down and go through all of those 
required documents carefully with a person whose relative is already
legally dead.  Yet we have no legal authority to take possession of that
patient unless those documents are completed.  We felt like we were
fiddling while Rome burned; but we had no choice.  Please don't wait.

     Later that evening, driving the ambulance down the coast with
an ice-covered patient in the back and with the moon glowing on the
waves of the Pacific Ocean out the front window, I had this strangely
mixed sensation of surrealism, heroism, love of life, and "what am I
doing here?"  I guess that is part of being a cryonicist.

     On a better note, Alcor has just taken delivery of its new 
four-patient long term storage dewar.  And just in time.

Steve Bridge

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