X-Message-Number: 27948
Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 10:28:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: desirability of standby
References: <>

> Message #27946
> Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 21:09:02 -0400
> From: "Henry R. Hirsch" <>
> Subject: Cryonics Institute Funding
> The services of Suspended Animation more than triple the $28000 cost of a
> whole-body suspension at Cryonics Institute. Is this expenditure necessary?

CI's own president, Ben Best, has written informatively on
the importance of rapid intervention. Mr. Hirsch apparently
doesn't believe Ben, or may be simply unaware of some rather
basic facts regarding ischemic injury (the cellular damage
that occurs when the blood stops flowing). I feel that all
cryonicists owe it to themselves to spend at least an hour or
two learning what will happen to them after cardiac arrest if
no one intervenes appropriately.

For a cryonics-related discussion of ischemic injury, I


Although this is a technical document it contains statements
such as:

"Nanotechnology may be able to repair freezing damage because
brain structure remains, though in a scrambled form. Unlike
freezing damage, warm ischemia eventually leads to
dissolution of brain tissue into a structureless soup." In
other words, ischemic injury has the potential to inflict
damage that may be much more difficult to reverse than
freezing injury.

Ben's conclusion:

"The highest priority should be to ensure that death does not
strike at times & places that leave one completely unprepared
to begin timely cooldown & cardiopulmonary support."

Ben is less convinced by the need for anti-ischemic
medications than I am, but the overall message seems clear
enough. Rapid intervention is important. His recommendations
for equipment will be found at:


Now, what precisely can you expect from your local funeral
director? Is he going to wait patiently by your bedside for
several days, until the moment when death is pronounced? Will
he then apply whole-body icewater cooling (not just static
lumps of ice) using a recirculation pump, plus uninterrupted
ventilation of the lungs, and mechanical cardiopulmonary
support (which has been proven far more effective than chest
compressions applied manually)? Will he then do a femoral
cutdown followed by blood substitution with an organ
preservation solution? And will all of these procedures be
performed with a high sense of urgency and dedication, driven
by the knowledge that if cell death can be averted, the
patient is not really "dead" at all?

If Mr. Hirsch has a funeral director who can and will do all
of this, he is a lucky man indeed. In fact I would say he is
unique in the history of cryonics.

I have met funeral directors who are very helpful and willing
to do what cryonics advocates request, but inevitably they do
not share our core motivation. I doubt that any funeral
director entirely shares our sense of urgency, our mindset,
and our particular dedication. In addition, none of them
possesses the necessary equipment to do what I believe needs
to be done.

If Mr. Hirsch is concerned about the cost of standbys, I
wonder if he has taken the trouble to read the explanation on
the CI web site at:


He may also wish to compare the services from his funeral
director with the protocol offered to CI members by Suspended


I feel that it is somewhat irresponsible of Mr. Hirsch to
make "recommendations" to other people which apparently are
not based on any thorough understanding of the very real
damage that can and does normally occur in the absence of
rapid intervention of the type I have outlined above.

--Charles Platt

> Is it even a good idea? If you die near home, which is likely, your local
> funeral director may be able to cut through the red tape at your community
> hospital more easily than people from out of town. The funeral director
> will then infuse heparin, pack you in ice, place you in an appropriate
> container (Ziegler case), and send you to CI. Under current protocols, he
> has no other duties. $10000 in a local help rider attached to your CI
> contract will more than cover the funeral director's cost, including
> transportation. The total cost is that of the premiums on a $38000 life
> insurance policy. That is what I am doing myself, and I recommend the same
> to other cryonicists.
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