X-Message-Number: 27982
From: "Aschwin de Wolf" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: The other side of standby 
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 15:46:58 -0400

Marta Sandberg writes:

>(...) IThe  first is about cryonics being a con-game and the second is
about cryonics  only being for very rich people.

This is a matter of degree anyway. There are people who cannot
afford cryonics at all because they're too old to get affordable life
insurance, or still young but have a serious illness, like Mark McAllister
(http://www.2dot0.org/) etc.

> Funeral directors have a lot more practice than a standby team.  They also
> have better contacts and experience in arranging to fly bodies to the USA.

Experience in what? Do funeral directors have experience in
cardiopulmonary support, airway management, placing IV's, inducing
hypothermia etc? Standby team members do not just go to a hospital and pick
up the body; they attempt to stabilize the patient with the goal of *keeping
the brain viable*.

> The same goes for access to hospitals.

It also needs to be pointed out that the use of a standby team doesn't
necessarily mean that funeral directors will not be involved. A standby team
will not hesitate to use a funeral home for some of their procedures like
blood washout, arranging shipping of the patient, or legal issues.

> Nor am I particularly happy with some of the standby protocols.  Until I
> know exactly what we need to preserve and the best way of doing so, I want
> the simplest possible preparation of my body.  I have always been afraid
> that the massive use of drugs in sophisticated suspension procedures can
> obliterate some delicate brain chemicals.

If you're concerned about "delicate brain chemicals", that's extra reason to
arrange for stabilization! What do you think what happens right after
pronouncement of death? Warm ischemia will produce massive intracellular
calcium overload, excitotoxicity, cell swelling, the generation of free
radicals, etc. A chemical cascade that pales in comparison to the (possible)
side-effects of the medications we use.

If you're concerned about some of the medications, you can always opt for
"just" cardiopulmonary support, rapid cooling and only the most basic
medications like Heparin. Remember that standby is about so much more than
just medications.

> SOCIAL  Nor should we forget the impact (both on the client and on their
> friends and family) of having a standby team on 'death watch'.  We have
> patents in the past from this.

I think you're stressing only one side of the story. It may alienate some
family members, but it can also produce more confidence in the cryonics
organization, and cryonics in general. There are Alcor case reports that
indicate that involvement of standby teams is very valuable to family and

> TIMING.  It is very hard to predict the time of death, unless you are
> willing (and legally able) to influence your death through some sort of
> euthanasia.  Standby teams have always had problem in either not getting
> there in time or having a too long standby.

I don't see this as an argument against standby, but as an argument for
expanding standby capability.

>This is not a problem with a  funeral director as they are local.

CI makes a similar claim on their website but to my knowledge has never
published any data on the average response time of their funeral directors.
And it's not only how fast they respond, I'd like to know what they do as
well. What about cooling? How?

When you have an SA (or Alcor) standby you can (and should) expect a serious
case report. I don't think it's very likely that funeral directors will do
this kind of meticulous notetaking when they are put in charge of picking up
a patient from the hospital and preparing the body for shipment to a
cryonics facility.

But the fundamental issue is that the average funeral director doesn't
have an emergency medicine mindset, let alone a good understanding of the
pathophysiology of ischemic injury, cryobiology, or human cryopreservation
in general.


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