X-Message-Number: 27958
Date: Sat, 20 May 2006 00:01:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: whales etc.

Bob Ettinger's message includes some remarks that may give a
slightly incorrect impression about the terms under which
Suspended Animation offers procedures to CI members.

> First, it seems unlikely to me that death will often be
> predictable within a few days, so that you may need
> repeated standbys, or a long standby, at very high expense.

I believe death can be predicted at least a couple of days
in advance in about one-third of cryonics cases, according
to an examination of records by Alcor when they were
reassessing their standby policy.

In any case, the SA agreement with CI offers either a
pay-as-you-go plan, in which CI members only pay for as many
days of standby as they desire, or a flat-rate plan (payable
in advance with cash or with life insurance) that offers up
to two full deployments of unlimited duration so long as a
significant risk of death exists. In such a situation,
Suspended Animation (not the member) takes the financial risk
of a second deployment and/or a standby that lasts a long

Cryonics cases requiring more than two standby deployments
are rare.

> Second, if you do call for a standby, how long will it take
> the SA team to assemble and arrive on site? Surely, in most
> cases, at least half a day. And if the patient is shipped
> without waiting for SA, you owe them the standby anyway."

Bob of course is correct that it takes time to deploy standby
personnel. However if death occurs unexpectedly for someone
who has made arrangements with Suspended Animation, and we
are unable to perform all procedures as a result (for
example, because of clotting prevents blood washout with
organ preservation solution), SA's agreement states that the
company will charge only for procedures that are actually
performed. If the CI member has prepaid for standby, the
unused funds will be returned to CI to be added to funds for
long-term patient maintenance, provided the member has made
no other request.

> Third, if death is expected reasonably soon (within six
> months) the patient can be put under hospice care (either
> at home or in a hospital or hospice facility) which greatly
> reduces the red tape. There has been prompt action in all
> of our several hospice cases."

Agreed. But the hospice situation also greatly improves the
chances for extremely prompt and productive action by a
standby team.

> Fourth, if you look at all of the information on our web
> site, and looking also at Dr. Pichugin's work, it doesn't
> look anything like total destruction within a day or so.
> Beached whales dead for two days have shown several
> biomarkers not too far off living values, as I recall."

Well, this is good news indeed! I would certainly hope that a
CI member who is discovered "within a day or so" does not
share the fate of this particular whale:


> Hopefully, the point is clear that brain structure and
> enzymatic activity and even some brain functions survive
> freezing even when freezing is done after hours of
> unprotected clinical death and even with minimal or no
> cryoprotection. Citation below."

But, the question is not whether structure survives hours of
warm ischemia. The question is whether it's worth buying a
little extra life insurance, to reduce brain injury. Most
people, I think, would prefer to receive treatment if they
were facing a threat such as a brain tumor. If we are serious
about the concept that a cryonics patient is "not necessarily
dead," it seems equally obvious--to me, anyway--that we
should seek treatment to minimize ischemic injury. This is
especially true since standby-transport work, if prepaid with
insurance, is of comparable cost to major surgery, also paid
with insurance. Also, the cost of buying an additional
$50,000 of life insurance (for standby arrangements) is much
less than the cost of buying the initial $50,000 of life
insurance (for cryopreservation), roughly speaking.

Since almost 800 people have chosen to pay significantly
more, at Alcor, than the CI+SA combination fee required at
the Cryonics Institute, apparently the majority of people
signing for cryonics seem to feel that standby-transport work
is a good idea, and are willing to pay a premium for it. The
purpose of Suspended Animation is to develop better ways to
provide the procedures that such people want, while charging
them slightly less than they would pay elsewhere. This sounds
a generally good idea to me.

--Charles Platt

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=27958