X-Message-Number: 813
Date: 08 May 92 03:58:13 EDT
From: Bob Smart <>
Subject: cryonics: #812

Actually, in the article about delayed transplantation and "reanimation" of
animal hearts, I was not only interested in the implications for suspension
procedures, but in the social effects as well.  I've heard that one of the
State of California's arguments in favor of prohibiting cryonics revolves
around the fact that suspension throws a monkey wrench into the accounting
procedures of mortality; it isn't clear whether one should consider a
suspended person "alive" or "dead" for recordkeeping purposes.  In a typical
display of bureaucratic threat-avoidance, the State wishes the whole issue
would just go away, and argues that if WE can be made to "go away," then
there won't be a problem and (best of all!) no vital-statistics forms will
need to be revised after all.
This latest development ("reanimation" of animal hearts) merely points out
that like it or not, the frontiers of medical technology and capability ARE
being pushed back, independent of the effects and implications of cryonics.
Current legal definitions of "death" that depend on phrases like "cessation
of heartbeat" or "irreversible heart stoppage" are ALREADY either obsolete
or at least seriously out of step with medical realities, and the situation
can only get more confusing and less rational until our society and our
lawmakers finally grapple with the fundamental issues.  Whether Gundry's
work has any practical effect on suspension procedures or not, the ethical
implications of what he has ALREADY done (let alone what he PROPOSES to do!)
may be even more important for cryonics and cryonicists.

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