X-Message-Number: 36
From: Kevin Q. Brown
Subject: freeze, wait, litigate
Date: 8 Nov 1988

"Freeze, Wait, Reanimate" is an old cryonics slogan (suitable for bumper
stickers and T-shirts).  Now, Curtis Henderson, Esq. and Gerard Arthus (not yet
Esq), both of ALCOR and CSNY, are introducing "Freeze, Wait, Litigate" with
their new cryonics / life extension - oriented law practice.  This is
particularly timely, since the law has had considerable influence on the fate
of cryonics in the last year alone (with the Dora Kent case and the recent
"right-to-cryonics" case for a California AIDS patient) and indications are
that this is only the beginning.  Henderson and Arthus plan to "provide legal
and related technical services to the Cryonics movement for as low a cost as
possible" and also "establish legal entities to promote the retention and
dissemination of monies for research in Cryonics and ultimately life-extension
Arthus has expressed interest in handling "right-to-die" cases.  This may at
first sound strange since cryonics is intended to save lives, not end them,
but legal precedents supporting "right-to-die" cases perhaps can also be used
to support the goals of cryonics.  If a (terminal) patient has a right to
actively terminate his or her life (to end unnecessary suffering), then
presumably cryonicists will be able to:
  (1) schedule their cryonic suspension as one would schedule elective surgery,
  (2) not have to allow needless brain damage (in addition to needless pain and
      suffering) before cryonic suspension, and
  (3) save money that otherwise would be (mis)spent on conventional
      (ineffective and damaging) life support.
Here is why these three advantages are important:
  (1) Scheduling cryonic suspension makes the logistics of suspension much
      simpler and less error prone than the current method of waiting until
      someone "drops dead" and then rushing to the scene and hoping that the
      local coroners and medical personnel will cooperate.  Even clearly
      terminal patients in a hospital or nursing home sometimes hang on for
      days, by which time the cryonic suspension team is exhausted from the
      wait.  Furthermore, such a patient may "pass away" during sleep and not
      be noticed immediately, resulting in a less effective suspension.
      This is particularly problematic in California because (by law) nursing
      home patients are not allowed to have the kinds of electronic monitors
      needed to promptly warn personnel when vital signs cease.
  (2) People at risk for strokes and degenerative brain diseases currently
      must wait for those strokes and brain diseases to sufficiently decimate
      their brain to cause legal death before cryonic suspension can begin.
      Unfortunately, by that time there might not be much to save.
  (3) You have all heard that "you can't take it with you".  Cryonicists see
      this as just one more challenge, not an impossibility.  However, even
      if the laws (of perpetuity) prevent a person from saving money so that
      it can be reclaimed upon reanimation, better uses can be made of that
      money than prolonging one's suffering.  (Supporting cryonics research
      comes to mind ...)

                                       - Kevin Q. Brown

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