X-Message-Number: 2830
Date:  Tue, 21 Jun 94 17:52:33 
From: Steve Bridge <>
Subject:  CRYONET Suspension Termination

To CryoNet
>From Stephen Bridge, Alcor Life Extension Foundation
June 21, 1994

     Following is an article from the next issue of the *Alcor 
Phoenix* members' newsletter, currently at the printer.  This is
an account of the first ever REMOVAL from suspension of an Alcor
patient.  Many of you have followed this case for the past four
years and will not be surprised at the outcome.  All of us at Alcor
and many others who knew the history of this case feel a deep
sadness that such a thing has occurred.  I have a special sadness
myself because this was the first suspension I had worked on from 
transport to encapsulation.  

     Please take note of Carlos's message.  This tragedy could have 
been prevented if Mr. and Mrs. "Graham" had simply gotten their 
paperwork signed.  There are other cryonicists over the years who 
were buried because they hadn't gotten around to filling out the 
forms.  If you're in this boat yourself, please don't wait.  You 
shouldn't have your only immortality be an article like this on

Steve Bridge

PAPERWORK COUNTS:  Alcor is Forced to Surrender a Body for

by  Carlos Mondragon

In April the California Supreme Court refused to hear an
appeal of lower court rulings which had mooted the
anatomical donation of the body of "Sylvia Graham" to Alcor
for cryonic suspension (see the report of the whole body
suspension of A-1242, Oct. 1990 issue of *Cryonics*).  The
effect was to let stand a court order directing that Mrs.
Graham's next of kin arrange a "Christian burial."

     This disposition of this case underscores the immense
importance of executing for oneself the "onerous" paperwork
which is required for Suspension Membership.  Although we
have from time to time reported on the progress of this case
in *Cryonics* Magazine, here is a brief review.

     Mrs. Graham had not executed *any* Alcor paperwork by
the time she became critically ill and unable to do so.  The
suspension was arranged by her husband, Dr. "Marvin Graham."
This was not the first or last of Alcor's "last minute
cases" (those suspensions arranged by persons other than the
patient).  Under California law and the Uniform Anatomical
Gift Act, a decedent's next of kin has the legal authority
to arrange for disposition of remains, including anatomical
donations, *in the absence of other written instructions by
the decedent*.

     The litigation which ensued did not dispute the
legality of cryonics or the right of the patient to have
chosen cryonics.  Rather, the issue was the patient's
intent.  About two months after the suspension, the
patient's sister produced a photocopy of an old will signed
by Sylvia Graham which explicitly stated that she wanted a
Christian burial, and did *not* want to be "frozen or
cremated"!  The sister brought suit to force execution of
that will. No original of the will was ever found, and it
was Dr. Graham's contention that Sylvia had resolved her
religious reservations regarding cryonic suspension and had,
in fact, decided to sign up with Alcor several months prior
to her death.  The sign-up process had been delayed due to
difficulties in arranging funding.  Evidence supporting the
suspension included the fact that the other, primarily
monetary provisions of the will had been rendered invalid by
changes to her estate which Sylvia had made in the last two
years of her life.  Mike Darwin and I gave testimony (by
deposition and at trial) that Sylvia had apparently already
changed her mind on cryonics when she and Dr. Graham visited
Alcor a few months prior to her suspension.

     The trial court ruled that notwithstanding any evidence
of Sylvia Graham's acceptance of cryonic suspension, she
could not have given *informed consent* to the procedure.
And since the judge accepted the legal status of cryonics as
scientific research (that status having been established by
an appellate court in Alcor's litigation with the California
Department of Health) he went further:  the standard of
informed consent applied was equal to what would be required
for medical experimentation on legally living patients.

     Alcor never did intervene or participate in this
litigation.  We had fought in the courts long, hard, and
*successfully* to defend and firmly establish the legal
right to choose disposition of one's remains. Since this
case presumed the right to choose, our role was to provide
moral support and hope for the best.

     Ultimately, when Dr. Graham was forced to carry out the
court order, our only choice was to demur.  (An attorney
assured us, meanwhile, that our move to another state did
not change our legal status in this matter.) The court had
ruled that Sylvia's will and lack of informed consent had
sufficiently revoked her husband's authority to have made an
anatomical donation of her body.  But as next of kin he was
still obligated and empowered to arrange a final disposition
within the guidelines set by the will: no freezing and no
cremation.  Dr. Graham and Alcor complied with the law.  At
the end of May, Sylvia's body was transported back to
California for burial, the first time such an incident has
happened in the history of Alcor.

     If there is any good news here, it is that you can
expect the judiciary of the State of California to uphold
your direction regarding disposition of your human remains
after legal death.  The caveat is that we had better be
damned swift about making those directives.  Even if full
suspension membership has not been completed (for whatever
reason), I believe that a signature on any two of the three
core documents which comprise Alcor's core paperwork package
would be sufficient to produce a different outcome in
circumstances similar to those described above.

     Membership Administrator Derek Ryan is at 1-602-922-
9013, waiting for your call.

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