X-Message-Number: 5945
From:  (Brian Wowk)
Newsgroups: uk.legal,sci.cryonics,sci.life-extension
Subject: Re: Virtue of suffering
Date: 16 Mar 96 06:29:59 GMT
Message-ID: <>
References: <> <>

In <> John Sharman <> 

>> I personally

>> am not aware of *any* case wherein a family contacted a cryonics organization
>> to freeze a dead love one because of any claims of possible revival
>> (of long-dead bodies) made by cryonics organizations. You want to
>> know the *real* source of people's belief that long-dead bodies
>> might be revivable?  It's the NEWS MEDIA. 

>And if you were in the media and you wanted some quick info on a cryo
>organisation, where would be one of the first places you'd look?

	The CryoCare Web page, where cryonics is clearly described
as the cryopreservation of terminal patients, with megabyte archives
documenting the medical technology used.  No serious journalist
writing about what cryonics is, and how cryonics is done,
would ever take the article you jumped on and make it a centerpiece
that defines contemporary cryonics practice.  

>> This is the kind
>> complete misunderstanding of cryonics that results when people are
>> led to believe that cryonics is the freezing of dead people.

>It's probably more a question of lack of concentration at a time of
>personal stress. Two points. Was the deceased a "neuro" case and if so,
>did the obtuse relative know and understand that fact?

	Yes and yes.  Your first observation is a good point, though. 

>Freeze 'em deep and pile 'em high.

	I know some people in this business that you'd get along with
very well. :)
>>         So stopping CPR on a living, conscious person is not homocide?

>No. Of course not. Nobody has a legal duty to go on maintaining life. In
>general, withdrawal of support is not to be regarded as killing. This is
>not an absolute rule (a parent who fails to feed his infant child could
>be charged with manslaughter or perhaps murder) but there would never be
>a charge where a patient was being kept alive against the force of

	The whole purpose of hospitals (especially ICUs) is to keep
people alive against the force of nature.  The difficult part is
deciding when to stop opposing the force.
>> Then why, in your catch-22, is it homocide to stop CPR on a resuscitated
>> cryonics patient during the course of the cryopreservation? 

>If that's all you do, then fair enough - no murder. I thought you were
>also deliberate lowering body temperature at the same time to a level
>where life could not be sustained.

	Both are done.  Cryonics patients that are cryopreserved under
good conditions experience cerebral (brain) resuscitation, but not
cardiac resusciation (drugs are administered to prevent the heart from
restarting).  They are thus completely dependent on life-support
equipment during the procedure, and the withdrawl of life support
(whether by cooling, toxic cryoprotective perfusion, or simply turning 
the blood pump off) cannot constitute murder because a medical authority
has already legally sanctioned the removal of life support at any
time (by declaring "death" in the first place).

	The debate started with your belief that resuscitating and
then freezing a cryonics patient must constitute homocide.  However
the ensuing discussion reveals the crucial necessity of distinguising
between two types of resuscitation: The kind where the patient gets
up and walks away under their own power, and the kind where the
patient remains dependent on life support after the resuscitation. 
Freezing in the latter case cannot be homocide if a physician
decreed that life support was to be terminated for that patient
in any case.  

>What's needed is a
>well-chosen test case where the punter can go to the High Court a couple
>of months before the expected death. My bet is that you'd get permission
>provided it could be shown that the cryonics team did no killing.

	Been done in California.  The Alcor Foundation went to court
to fight a hospital that didn't want to release a patient to Alcor
for fear that Alcor would resuscitate the patient.  The judge
ruled that once the hospital declared the patient dead, they
relinqished all medical authority over that patient.  He further
ruled that the death declaration must be made promptly, and by
the same criterion (cardiac arrest) that would be applied to any other 
patient in a similar condition.  

Brian Wowk          CryoCare Foundation               1-800-TOP-CARE
President           Your Gateway to the Future        

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