X-Message-Number: 3256
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 94 20:41:20 EDT
Subject: CRYONICS response to Charles Platt re legal death

Charles Platt writes:

>6. The accepted medical definition of death has changed over time, but i
>still quite different from a cryonicist's definition of death. Legal
>death is pronounced when there is no evidence of pulse, respiration, or
>brain activity (I am oversimplifying, here). To a cryonicist, a patient
>is not necessarily permanently dead if the brain structure and cell
>states have been preserved, or have not yet deteriorated. Cold-water
>drowning victims are frequently resuscitated after being "dead" by norma
>definitions for two or three hours. Still, the gap continues to exist
>between what seems obvious to us, and what seems appropriate in the
>world of orthodox medicine.

I agree with everything that you say here, but want to draw an odd
implication.  This may be a gap that we DON'T want closed.  Consider
the following worst case scenario:  If the legal system continued to
deny access to cryonic suspension until after legal death, but accepted
the information theoretic criterion for death, then it would prohibit
suspension of any patients prior to their decomposition.

On a more hopeful note:  Could a doctor who is a member of a cryonic
organization, but not an employee or officer of the organization,
declare legal death of a cryonics patient without the legal problems
that an employee or officer of the organization would?

                                        Best wishes,
                                        -Jeffrey Soreff

standard disclaimer: I do not speak for my employer.

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