X-Message-Number: 19121
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 08:08:12 EDT
Subject: Lies and more lies...

In a message dated 5/19/02 2:01:15 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 

> However, after several weeks we felt compelled to remove the
>  equipment, fearing for its safety and our own, largely because Leary was
>  talking about assisted suicide, which could have been classified as
>  homicide in view of his diminished ability to make decisions. At the very
>  least it would have precipitated a homicide investigation, during which
>  Leary would have been autopsied (thus ruining his chances for good
>  cryopreservation of the brain), our equipment would have been impounded as
>  evidence, and we might have been regarded as possible accessories.

The Leary saga is an incredible one which would consume a book. In the end, 
it cost me the friendships of two very important people to me; Arel Lucas and 
Keith Henson who still, to this day as far as I know, blame me, and to some 
extent Charles Platt for Tim's decision not to be cryopreserved. The above 
quote contains an inaccuracy which needs to be corrected. We did pull the 
equipment out of the house. I would very much appreciate it if Charles would 
post as a JPEG the equipment as it was there at the last: totally 
inaccessible and covered with religious and spiritual objects. I would like 
people to see what was really going on.

However, having removed the "permanent" equipment left in the home which 
included medications, syringes, needles and other unsecured and unsecurable 
prescription paraphernalia (which one of our physicians asked be removed to a 
secure location) we *did not leave.* Rather, we withdrew to the front of the 
house (about 20 feet from the entrance on the street) to wait in the 
ambulance with an even *more* comprehensive set of equipment! There we sat. 
The Leary household was wide open, so it wasn't too much of an inconvenience 
and I ended up doing a lot of the sitting. You could wander in an out of a 
floating party with plenty of food, alcohol and drugs any time you chose. The 
only problem was sleep. I had an air mattress in the ambulance (which is 
still there BTW) I used to crash on but it was still very uncomfortable. 

Contrary to rumors that Tim was insulted or hurt by the "rejection of his 
lifestyle" removal of the in-home equipment supposedly represented he was 
congenial and happy as happy could be. John Perry Barlow was *not.* Barlow is 
the Barlow of the Rock group the The Grateful Dead. He was present at Tim's 
home almost continually during the last weeks of Tim's life and made an 
unrelenting effort to persuade Tim not to go for cryonics. He has publicly 
taken credit for Tim's reversal of his decision to be cryopreserved and has 
publicly discussed his pivotal role at conferences, one of which Jim Yount of 
ACS attended with him as a fellow panelist.

Once Tim decided to cut free of cryonics we removed the ambulance. Tim and I, 
along with a number of BPI staff had a very emotional and deeply moving 
good-bye. Tim was not angry or hurt or put off by cryonics people as far as I 
could tell or those with me. Rather, he was simply not interested any more. 
His reaction was exactly as it had been when Dr. Steve Harris, I, and other 
medical consultants tried to correct his underlying pathology which was mild 
dementia and severe malnutrition. No, he wasn't crazy, but he had terrible 
short term memory and this showed up strikingly on his Stanford mini-mental 
status exam. His lack of appetite, complicated by drug and alcohol intake, 
coupled with his short term memory deficit was devastating to any attempt to 
get him nourished and reverse his frank starvation. 

The people in the house (with on exception, a woman named Sibbon, his 
personal assistant) were not only useless in helping Tim take vitamins (which 
we prepared in daily unit dose vials) and get vitally needed calories and 
protein (his serum albumin was 2.5 g/L the last time I measured it!) they 
were grossly negligent. Tim was often suffering from cuts and bruises due to 
falls where he was left all night on the floor because everyone had either 
gone out partying or were too zonked to get up and do anything about his 
cries for help. Charles has a ghastly photo of Tim taken after a night spent 
on the hallway floor where he fell en route (unsuccessfully) to the bathroom 
with his face still crusted with dried blood.

Tim had Hepatitis C and hemochromatosis, the latter of which resulted in open 
running lesions on his hands, forearms and face from sun exposure. He refused 
to take any precautions to avoid transmission of this fairly lethal disease 
to those around him. When   
Sibbon became insistent that Universal Precautions be used and people 
handling him be informed, he fired her.

Some of Tim's cryonics friends became convinced he had been mishandled by 
members of CryoCare, BPI, or Charles Platt. The irony was that he refused to 
take their calls, but continued to take ours. In fact, the last time I talked 
with Tim was about 3 days before he died. He explained he was taking a close 
relative to visit the grave of his wife and that he expected he'd be dead 
within a week -- at least that's what the home hospice nurses had told him. 
He was in his typical ebullient mood (although sounding weak) and said he 
wanted to thank me for helping so much with his pain management by getting 
Dr. David Crippen (head of ICU medicine at St. Francis Med Center, Univ, of 
Pittsburgh) to fly out twice and work with the hospice people. He said he was 
looking forward to death as a great adventure and thanked me for being so 
gracious about his decision to change his mind after all the trouble we'd 
been through. 

That was the last time I talked to him. I have no doubt that he was competent 
to make major decisions about his life, and, if he wasn't, no court would 
have found otherwise. His son could not have cared less either way and it is 
interesting to note that the policy for his cryonics care, which was 
purchased and paid for by donations from cryonics people concerned about Tim 
(for nearly a decade) was reassigned quickly and completely before his death 
and all proceeds went to his son!

Sometimes you wonder if you could have done things differently and you feel 
guilt. I think there is always an element of "what if" in cases like this. 
But what if only goes so far. In my opinion Tim had some wonderful qualities 
and a razor sharp intellect. But he was first and foremost a player to the 
crowd and a consummate manipulator who valued fame and immediate 
gratification above almost everything else. In the end, he got snared by 
somebody even better at it than he was; John Perry Barlow.

And BTW, cryonics aside, John Perry Barlow is *not* a nice man in my 
experience. Tim could be cruel in his pursuit of expedient fulfillment of his 
whims. Barlow lived for it; manipulating others, regardless of the harm 
seemed the man's whole reason for existence.

Nevertheless, Tim made his own decision.

I just wish people would quit blaming me and others who worked so hard to 
really help Tim; especially people who weren't there and did not expend the 
time or money (over $5,000 in cash laid out alone) which I and the rest of 
the BPI/CC Team did trying to save Tim's life.

However, any rational account of matters where they intersect with Tim Leary 
is like spitting in the wind. I should know that by now, but sometimes you 
just can't help yourself. Tim would understand that *completely.*

Mike Darwin

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