X-Message-Number: 3769
Date:  Fri, 27 Jan 95 20:16:22 
From: Steve Bridge <>
Subject: Patient Privacy

To Cryonet
>From Steve Bridge, Alcor
January 27, 1995

In Reply to several messages on depression and the privacy of patients, 
culminating in     Message #3758
                   Date: 26 Jan 95 19:09:54 EST
                   From: Mike Darwin <>
                   Subject: CRYONICS  Apples and oranges

     This has been an interesting topic to watch discussed.  Questions of 
individual privacy vs. spread of information have been debated for all of 
the years I have been in cryonics.  It is still useful to rethink them, 
especially for new people; but even to remind us older folks of what is 

     What I hate to see here (or would hate if it wasn't so darn funny to 
watch) is this escalating game of "Oh, please let me get the last word!"   
It is also funny to watch people who want to debate real issues but who 
feel required to also act insulted, perhaps because that is the expected 
response.  It is obvious that certain people cannot discuss current issues 
with certain other people without both groups dragging past wounds into 
the argument.

     While I have had my own disagreements with Dave Cosenza (and 
agreements, as well), in general I thought his questions and comments on 
this subject were relevant to CryoNet and useful to debate.  This time I 
thought his detractors were reacting more to their memories of what Dave 
has said before, not to what Dave was saying this time.

     Even if someone gets offended by Dave's style, his style is hardly 
improved by others arguing, in effect, "Dave C. makes *ad hominem* attacks 
-- and he's a jerk, too."  I hope I don't need to point out the irony 

     I'm glad to see these issues debated.  This is the perfect forum for 
it.  I haven't decided exactly where I would draw the line myself; 
although, as Alcor President, I would tend to favor drawing it pretty 
tightly.  In this position and with my background I know a lot of personal 
details of the lives of Alcor members and patients (and of many of you who  
are neither).  Since many of the mistakes (including some made by me) that 
have generated the most unhappiness and criticism over the past three 
years have included carelessness in confidentiality, I have learned that 
saying less is usually the best policy.

     Since Mike Darwin has been one of the people who were most angered 
about lapses in confidentiality by others, I would hope he would be 
sensitive enough to these issues that he would not become so incensed when 
his own decisions are questioned.  Surely righteous indignation is not the 
sole property of Mike, even if he does do it better than anyone else.  :-)  
Even if we finally conclude that Mike is acting properly in releasing this 
information, how can it be wrong to ask the question?

Mike says:

>A legitimate question then is "where do you draw the line?"  That is a
>worthwhile subject for discussion, but has not been addressed in that 
>manner by either Riskin or Cosenza.

     It looked to me like that was what Dave Cosenza *was* doing.  He was 
just drawing it in a different place than you are.

>My own answer is that this will always remain  an area of debate and 
>personal judgment.

     So fine, we are debating.  Otherwise, this is no answer at all, 
except to say that you will never draw the line anywhere except where you 

>Finally, I will continue to draw on my reservoir of experiences in doing 
>human cryopreservations.  If Alcor doesn't like me using Alcor case 
>numbers I am more than willing to use arbitrary numbers which I assign to 
>each patient I discuss.

     We might consider doing this, I suppose; but that doesn't seem to be 
what the debate is currently about.  The question seems to be "How much 
and what type of psychological speculation should we make about ANY 
suspension patient?"

>Finally, if this (whatever exactly "this" means: what Cosenza thinks 
>should be disclosed, what Riskin thinks, what the Alcor Board thinks?)  
>is to be Alcor's standard for the future, I suggest they draft up a 
>document and have all their employees, contractors and volunteers sign 
>it.  I certainly never signed such a document -- and wouldn't today.

     How did Alcor's Board get into this?  Mike Riskin, while an Alcor 
Director, is pretty clearly writing on this argument in his occupation as 
therapist.  D. Cosenza is not even a Director.  They are not writing on 
behalf of Alcor's Board.  One Director's or one member's opinion does not 
represent the feelings of other Directors or members any more than it ever 

     Now, I know that Dave Cosenza is poised to answer Mike's message with 
his own set of emotions, and Perry and Charles and Mike will be ready to 
fire shots back, and so on until all concerned are forced to stop because 
of carpal tunnel syndrome.

     Maybe everyone's wrists would be saved (not to mention blood 
pressure, stomach acid, and hemorrhoids) if all would pull back a bit and 
return to the issues with a bit less emotion.   We don't need to turn good 
debate into a flame war over personalities.

Steve Bridge

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