X-Message-Number: 25955
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2005 08:38:51 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: for James Clement re legal form

To James Clement:

Among the conditions in which you wish to be kept alive I found
"persistent vegetative state". While the state of your brain should
be verified by PET scans and possibly even a biopsy, when you're
in a persistent vegetative state your brain is quite likely to
have turned to mush. Yes, the centers in your lower brain that
control your stomach, your lungs, etc may still be active but
you're GONE. 

That's the one serious problem I can see with your proposed
legal document. One thing to keep very firmly in mind is that
OUR cryonicist notion of death IS NOT THE SAME as the usual
notion of death among most people (including most doctors). In
the case of brain conditions, this becomes particularly 
important for us because we want suspension while we still
exist (ie are alive in OUR sense) and conditions such as 
persistent vegetative states (and others such as Alzheimer's
and various brain diseases) are those in which society
believes we're alive, and therefore cannot undergo suspension
(so long as it's only allowed for "officially dead" people).
We, of course, believe that we've died.

Terri Schiavo did not die yesterday. She died over 10 years
ago, and various agencies have kept around an empty shell
that is no more her than a portrait would be.

             Best wishes and long long life for all,

                 Thomas Donaldson

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