Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bandaids for Gaping Chest Wounds

Last May, Suspended Animation Inc (SA), via their "consultant" and "Team Coordinator," Charles Platt, elected to send a golf pro/office clerk and two fabricator/designers to perform stabilization and transport of a Cryonics Institute patient/client. Not one of these three people had prior medical experience, and I don't believe any of them could be considered to be "experts" on the topic of cryonics, by any stretch of the imagination.

I worked with those three people, fulltime, for five months, and intermittantly, as a consultant to SA, for five months prior to that. During that time, I never believed any of these people to have a serious interest in the science of cryonics. I agree they are all generally "nice" people, but people shouldn't hold positions of responsibility because they are "nice," or because they are "loyal" to the person who hired them and established their extremely generous salaries, especially when the responsibility they hold is the lives of patients who have been placed in their care.

My interpretation of the SA case report and addendum for the CI case, as a perfusionist with a vast amount of experience, leads me to believe great harm was caused to that patient. When it comes to whole body perfusion, which the SA team attempted to perform, "something" is not always better than "nothing." SERIOUS damage can be inflicted on a patient, through the use of a perfusion circuit by unqualified personnel.

In my opinion, the person who hired these people, established their salaries, and sent them to take care of a patient, behaved FAR BEYOND irresponsibly. For the price of their one golf pro, SA could hire an experienced paramedic, or EMT, and retain a couple more to rotate call with that person. Instead, what does SA do in response to criticism over their handling of the CI case? They send the golf pro to EMT school. The problem with this is, even after she graduates, she is still just one person, and a person with very little experience, at that. Inserting IV lines into patients with no blood pressure can be a daunting task, even for those with many years of experience. How is this person going to gain the needed experience? I believe SA has only had one case in four years. This seems rather like placing a bandaid on a gaping gunshot wound to the chest.

It seems LEF should require SA to make better use of the funds they provide to that company, by hiring qualified, experienced personnel. Sending a golf pro they are already paying significantly more than the average EMT earns, to EMT school, rather than retaining a small group of experienced EMTs and/or paramedics, to rotate call, for the same amount of money, seems like a continuation of a very long string of poor management decisions made at SA.