X-Message-Number: 21953
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 20:30:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Cryosummit etc.

David Pascal is indeed correct, the "Cryosummit" at CI was a feelgood
event--except of course for the two people who were told not to attend. (I
was one of them.) I guess feelgoodism has its limits. Also, I don't think
the Cryosummit was actually an Ettinger idea, was it?

Anyway, the feelgoodness of any feelgood event does tend to dissipate in
time, and this event was no exception. As I have noted, Tim Freeman was
invited to visit a couple of Alcor cases, but in the most recent CI cases,
so far as I know, no invitation was forthcoming. Since I have reason to
believe that one of these cases was in LA, where we have our premiere
volunteer standby team, I believe we could have had someone at the site
before CI was able to do so, and we might have been able to help, rather
than merely observe. However, no one on our side was notified, and in the
public summary of what I believe was this case, Ettinger didn't even name
the state where it occurred--perhaps because he knew we would immediately
ask why we weren't invited?

I regret that I have to speculate so much here, but like any
Kremlinologist, I am forced to work from meager data when I try to figure
out what is going on at CI. To give you an example of the problems faced
when we attempt to get even basic facts, consider these two paras from the
CI web site:


> Another Patient
Feb. 2, 2003
The Cryonics Institute received its 46th human whole body patient, one of
our most senior members, who died of a combination of health problems. The
member was washed out and perfused by a local mortician who had been
previously trained, equipped, and supplied. The member died under hospice
care, with good cooperation from all involved.

> CI Recieves New Patient In First-Time Collaboration With SAI
Feb. 21, 2003
In its second case this February, the Cryonics Institute received its 47th
patient, and the first one involving a collaboration with Suspended
Animation Inc. The case was another death-bed membership and barely under
the wire. SAI had people at the hospital, in Florida, for a day or two
before death.


Now, is this opaque, or what? David Pascal cites the detailed report
written by Ben Best, describing an earlier CI case, but he does not
dispute my belief that Ben's report is unique in CI's history. So far as I
know, it remains the only occasion on which anyone has described what CI
does in a CI case. The rest are shrouded in mystery, and as I noted in my
previous post, mystery is antithetical to scientific progress. If we do
not communicate, we do not learn.

Uncle Bob always tells people to go look at the CI web site for procedural
details, but I already tried that, and discovered the following:

"After washout and perfusion, the patient is wrapped in a sleeping bag,
tagged, and cooled down further, taking about a week to dry ice
temperature and another week to liquid nitrogen temperature. These periods
were chosen because they produce no discernible cracking, either to the
naked eye or to the microscope. Other methods had always produced
cracking. In the context of future repair technology, cracking may not be
a big deal, but naturally we prefer to avoid it if we can. "

But in another section titled "What's New" I found a different recipe:

"After further investigation and experimental study, CI has shortened its
dry ice cool-down phase for patients to two days. It is expected that this
will result in improved patient conditions and care. "

From this it *seems* that CI has abandoned a years-long intransigent
position in which it insisted that slow cooling from 0 degrees Celsius
downward was an "anti-cracking" protocol, even though toxic and
destructive chemical reactions remain active in this period.

Years ago, when I raised this issue and suggested that CI was allowing
damage to occur by inflicting slow initial cooling, I was excoriated by
Ettinger and Pascal, who claimed that their own unspecified research
verified that slow cooling was infinitely superior. Now apparently CI has
finally backed away from its former position, possibly under the influence
of Yuri Pichugin, who is a conventionally qualified cryobiologist. Robert
Ettinger was always dismissive of conventional cryobiologists until he
hired one of his own. Maybe they have their uses after all.

I am not suggesting that any organization administers "ideal" protocol.
There are too many variables and not enough feedback. Also, mistakes are
made, from which we may hope to learn--but only if we admit them. (See
the most recent issue of Alcor News in www.alcornews.org archives for a
discussion of some mistakes which we may have made in a recent case. Can
we hope to find a similar discussion of CI mistakes sometime soon, David?
Personally I regard slow initial cooling as rather a classic CI mistake,
which continued for perhaps a decade, but you may disagree.)

The bottom line is, cryonics is a very imperfect science. So long as we
refuse to admit this, the imperfections will tend to remain. This is why I
believe that all organizations will ultimately benefit from frank


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