X-Message-Number: 4563
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 1995 21:04:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Steve Bridge's Strange Debate

I'm not quite sure why Steve Bridge decided to start debating the
advantages of his organization vs. ours here on CryoNet. As a rule of
thumb, I've generally tried to avoid mentioning Alcor on the general
principle that one should never knock the competition. But since Steve has
gone on at such length, I will just point out places where an equal and
opposite point of view does exist. 

>      One of the most basic principles of Alcor structure is that 
> suspension services and patient storage are kept in-house.

Another way of stating this would be, "One of the most basic principles 
of Alcor structure is that members of Alcor do not have any choice among 
service providers and probably never will."

> Recently we have 
> seen a very clear example of how things can go wrong.  Earlier this 
> month, for reasons unknown to us, Michael Darwin, President of 
> Biopreservation, Inc. (BPI), canceled BPI's contract to perform 
> suspension services for the American Cryonics Society (ACS). 

Another way of stating this would be, "Recently we have seen a clear
example of an independent service provider altering his arrangements with
a client in such a way that no harm was done and no ill-will was created." 
Bearing this in mind, why does Steve maintain that independent providers
are such a cause for alarm? 

> They say this approach is 
> "flexible" and encourages "competition" for services between various 
> providers.  Perhaps if cryonics was a much larger field with dozens 
> of service providers, this might be true.  In the current situation, 
> however, dependence on a single outside company is highly risky. 

CryoCare currently offers two (that's two, Steve, as you well know)
options for patient storage: CryoSpan and CI. We would offer Alcor's team
as an additional option for standby and perfusion if Alcor was willing to
consider this. We have been told however that Alcor will not even talk
about the possibility. Overall, cryonics is still growing, even though the
net growth at Alcor seems to have leveled off a bit over the past year. In
due course I have no doubt that CryoCare will be able to offer more 
options for standby and perfusion. 

> If BPI should also decide, for whatever reason, to cancel its contract 
> with CryoCare, CryoCare could be in a worse situation than ACS, 
> which at least owns enough equipment for a transport and initial 
> washout.

I believe Mike Darwin has already addressed this issue in his post here a 
couple of days ago.

>      Such a situation cannot occur at Alcor.  The individuals on our 
> suspension team will change over the years, and difficulties will 
> arise when important team members resign or are suspended; but the 
> team remains a part of Alcor. 

As Steve well knows, crucial members of Alcor's suspension team have died
or left or been asked to leave, over the past few years. The personnel of
an in-house team are no more reliable than those of an outside team. In
fact they may be less reliable since they are involved as volunteers or
very-low-salary staff whereas an outside service provider is in it as a
business. Also, the experience of a team is extremely important, and right
now, Alcor's team has less experience than the key people at CI or
BioPreservation. Also, although Dr. Steve Harris has scaled back his
involvement in cryonics, he remains available to CryoCare as a consultant.
I believe that Alcor does not have an MD equally available to consult
during a standby/perfusion--certainly not one with Steve's experience in
cryonics. The reasons why Steve no longer consults for Alcor are 
contained in CryoNet posts of a couple of years ago; I do not intend to 
touch on them here.

>      Alcor has the structure it does for long-term security.  Your 
> protection is our protection.

At CryoCare, we feel the same way about our organization. In fact, we 
spent a great deal of time and trouble designing its structure to avoid 
promlems which we felt had plagued cryonics in the past.

> I'm sure 
> Charles Platt and Brian Wowk and others would like to debate these 
> issues here, which I am happy to do. 

Actually, Steve, I HATE having to debate these issues here. I think this
is an inappropriate forum and I wish you hadn't opened this up. 

> Mike was President of Alcor for many years and was a loyal 
> employee/Director/contractor for several more.  We couldn't imagine 
> Alcor at that time without Mike.  Yet things changed within Alcor (and 
> within Mike, no doubt) that caused Mike twice to cease doing suspensions 
> for Alcor, the second time leaving altogether.

I really regret these implied smears, because one smear tends to beget
another. Do we really need to reopen the whole subject of how Mike was
ejected from Alcor? I think if the full story is told, it reflects far
worse on the Alcor board than it does on Mike. 

>      I worked with Mike on various projects over a period of more than 
> 15 years.  Mike has his good sides and his bad sides (as demonstrated in 
> his letter).  As Alcor President and as a friend, I deeply miss the good 
> sides.  I am also grateful not to have to deal with the bad sides on a 
> daily basis.

Is there anyone else you don't enjoy working with, Steve? Come on, let's
have a complete list! For a start, how about some of your board members? I
seem to remember that there are a couple whom you voted against in the
annual elections two or three years ago. How are you getting along with
them these days? In the interests of fairness, do you want to tell us
about their good sides and bad sides too? 

No, I'm not serious; merely pointing out that once you start getting 
personal, there's no telling where you're liable to end up.

More seriously, I'm bothered by your persistent hinting that there is
something ... unstable ... about CryoCare. I don't much care for this,
especially coming from an organization which has had its own management
problems in the past, has had to rein in its expenditures recently, and is
losing the full-time help of one of its key staff in the near future.
Perhaps, Steve, stability is in the eye of the beholder. 

Personally I wish Alcor every success, because cryonics generally will
benefit when all the individual organizations are strong. To this end, I
suggest it makes better sense to spend our time attending to our own
business, rather than each other's business. 

--Charles Platt

Charles Platt / 1133 Broadway, room 1214 / New York / NY 10010
Phone 212 929 3983     email      fax 212 807 6111

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