X-Message-Number: 273
Date: 20 Jan 91 15:39:13 EST
From: Steve Bridge <>
To: KEVIN <>
Subject: Alcor New Year Suspension
Message-Id: <"910120203912 72320.1642 EHI64-1"@CompuServe.COM>

TO: Kevin
Jan 20, 1991

     Ralph  Whelan, Membership Administrator for the Alcor Life  Extension 
Foundation,  has  posted  the  following  account  of  a  recent   cryonic 
suspension  to  me  to pass along to the mailing list.  I think  it  is  a 
remarkable example of the kind of preparation and comittment Alcor has for 
its members.  

     Ralph tells me that Alcor is having problems with its Portal  account 
and  it may not be accessible right now.  Please report any  problems  you 

     Ralph  also  notes  that  the  end-of-the-year  rush  on   suspension 
memberships  with Alcor was overwhelming.  Alcor now has about  200  fully 
signed-up Suspension Members, and another 230 (!) in the sign-up  process.  
He  apologizes to anyone who feels that their paperwork seems  delayed  in 
Alcor's  processing.   Ralph  is  working  12-hour  days  trying  to   get 
everything caught up.  Computer programs are being developed to speed this 
process  up,  but  for the next few  months  sign-up  administration  will 
continue to be a labor intensive activity.

     Do  let Ralph know if you have not received needed sign-up  materials 
or  if  your papers have been in Alcor's hands for several weeks  with  no 
response.   We  don't  want  anyone to be missed  on  a  filing  error  or 


     The  call came at approximately 10:00 a.m. on the 31st  of  December.  
A  group  of us had spent three days in Mike Darwin's  Transport  Training 
Course  (learning  how  to prepare suspension patients  for  transport  to 
Alcor's  facility).   The  group  consisted  of  myself,  Fred  and  Linda 
Chamberlain, Art McCombs, Carlos Mondragon, Mike Perry, Mark Voelker, Arel 
Lucas, Naomi Reynolds, and Russ Whitaker.  We were on the last day of  the 
training, just preparing to practice our meds and transport techniques  on 
a  105 pound pig that we'd already doped up with thorazine.   Carlos  took 
the initial telephone call, which informed us that an Alcor member (an 88-
year old woman) had developed an abdominal aortic aneurysm about the  size 
of  a grapefruit, and that they would probably have to operate within  the 
next couple of days.

     Mike  Darwin thought it over for a few minutes, then decided to  call 
off the pig scenario.  He didn't want us tying up supplies and  personnel, 
not  to mention spreading potentially infectious pig waste throughout  the 
facility.   Some of the "old hands" began prepping the lab,  while  others 
(specifically,  me) began the frantic six-hour search for Jerry Leaf  (who 
was vacationing in Hawaii).  

     About  a half-hour later another call came.  The patient  was  fading 
fast;  as  it turned out, the aneurysm had started to leak badly  and  her 
blood  pressure was down to about 60 mmHg.  It was felt that the  aneurysm 
could  rupture at any time.  After some discussion between  Mike,  Carlos, 
the  doctors,  and the patient's family, it was decided that  the  patient 
would  be  operated on and a graft of Gortex used to replace  the  failing 
vessel  as  soon  as  possible.  This was done not to  try  and  save  the 
patient's  life, but rather to give Alcor a "patent pipe" to  perfuse  her 
through and also prevent her from bleeding out so that transport "Thumper" 
(heart-lung resuscitator) support might still be effective. 

     Mike  rallied the team, and 45 minutes after the call came in,  seven 
people (The Chamberlains, Carlos, Mike, Russ, Arel, and Mark) left for the 
hospital  in the ambulance and Carlos' car.  Art, myself, Hugh,  and  Mike 
Perry  took over the lab preparations.  Art began the tedious  process  of 
mixing  the  perfusate, while Hugh and Mike Perry made a dry ice  run  and 
then  began trying to untangle the heart-lung machine schematics,  on  the 
chance that Jerry couldn't be reached.

     The patient was operated on, survived the operation but began  fading 
after  it.   Unfortunately  she  developed a  complication  known  as  DIC 
(diffuse  intravascular  clotting)  which caused her to  BLEED  to  death.  
About 1-2 hours after they reached the hospital, the patient was  declared 
legally dead.  Seventeen minutes later (there was a delay while the  death 
was  cleared with the Medical Examiner, since it was within 30 days  of  a 
surgical procedure) surface cooling and transport began.  About fifty-five 
minutes after that the crew arrived back at the lab.

     While  the transport medications were given OK, the patient had  lost 
so much blood volume that CPR was not effective at restoring  circulation, 
and everything that was poured into her to support her volume just quickly 
leaked out through the bleeding incisions.

     Things  were  pretty  "normal" for the next  few  hours.   I  finally 
reached  Jerry Leaf, and he was on his way back.  We'd cooled the  patient 
pretty  effectively, and managed to "flush" her (do a blood washout)  with 
six  liters of Viaspan with remarkable success.  Mike went into her  groin 
and  used the Gortex graft to perfuse the Viaspan through  and  cannulated 
her femoral vein for drainage.  So, even though the graft didn't help with 
her initial transport, at least it allowed her to get flushed with Viaspan 
and  served as plumbing for her cryoprotective perfusion later.  Then  all 
we  could do was wait for Jerry, which was okay, since the  perfusate  was 
still  being filtered and the patient was quite cool (about 2  degrees  C) 
and flushed.

     Saul Kent returned from LAX with Jerry at about 2 a.m.  Jerry spent a 
few hours setting up the heart-lung machine and supervising the  perfusate 
filtering  while  most  of the team slept.  Russ and  I  spent  the  night 
watchdogging the filtering and assisting Jerry.  

     Early  in  the morning (around sevenish, I think) the  sleepers  were 
called  in and the surgical team--consisting of Jerry, Dr. Thomas  Munson, 
and Art McCombs--scrubbed up while the patient was prepped and the rest of 
the  team took straight IV infusions of 50% caffeine  solution.   Somebody 
mumbled "happy new year," I'm not sure who.  

     The surgery in preparation for perfusion took about a one and a  half 
hours.   Mike's  burr  hole (a small hole in the skull to  give  the  team 
visual  observation  of the patient's brain) revealed that  perfusion  was 
"successful,"  though  I  think  sub-optimal;  she  developed  some  brain 
swelling  and  the  microscopic  clots from the  DIC  caused  very  patchy 
perfusion in her tissues.  I think that the suspension went about as  well 
as it could have, which was in fact rather well.  The ischemic insult time 
was  an  artifact of the medical red tape, rather than our  response  time 
(which  was good) or Jerry's absence (which really didn't  interfere  with 
the transport phase much at all).  

     Jerry flew right back to Hawaii.  The transfer of the patient  (whole 
body)  to dry ice cooling in silicone oil was uneventful; and the  patient 
was  transferred  to  liquid  nitrogen storage a  few  days  later,  after 
completion  of the  individual protective aluminum "cassette."  This is  a 
new development for our large four-patient storage dewar, to provide  both 
better protection and better access to the whole body patients.

     Alcor now has 17 patients in storage.

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