Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Feel Good Words Like 'Transparency'"

Recently, I was listening to CNBC, and a commentator mentioned "feel good words, like 'transparency.'" (I'm not sure who made the comment, or I'd give him credit.) "Transparency" is certainly a "feel good" word that gets tossed around a lot, in cryonics.

Transparency is a great thing, but only when someone is capable of interpreting what they see. SA consultants Charles Platt and Aschwin de Wolf may have written the most "transparent" cryonics case report, ever, for SA's involvement in the CI-81 case. The problem was, even THEY couldn't "see" what they had written, because they didn't have the appropriate educations, or clinical backgrounds. They didn't have a clue as to how medical professionals with a background in perfusion technology, (the method used to deliver SA's washout solution), would interpret that report. When I, (a perfusionist), pointed out the obvious, SA published an addendum that only supported my accusations. (Why were a science fiction writer and someone with an education in political science, who were not even present for the CI-81 case, be writing the case report, anyway?)

Indeed, cryonics organizations could not be much more "transparent," but what is the result? Them standing around patting themselves on the back, for being "transparent"? When a medical professional points out that the introduction of massive air emboli and the improper pressurization of patients were virtually eliminated in conventional medicine, decades ago, all that comes back is "We're doing the best we can?" and more back-patting for being "transparent"?

I've been chastised on the Cold Filter forum, for running off cryonicists willing to post under their real names. Whom have I run off? A science fiction writer/wannabe engineer who I believe has wasted enormous amounts of money on building makeshift equipment, sometimes when there was existing medical equipment available at a reasonable price? Someone who is publicly, and regulary, called a "liar" even by cryonicists? A physician on the LEF payroll who is willing to publish blatant lies about a fellow medical professional he doesn't even know, and who wouldn't tell laymen to give a patient heparin, unless they knew to ask? People who engage in animal experimentation of questionable merit? A mostly self-taught, self-proclaimed "cryo-expert" who wants to carry on highly-technical discussions the audience won't understand, (not because they are unintelligent, but because they don't have the appropriate background.)

The readers on Cold Filter have frequently remarked that they don't understand Michael ("Mike Darwin") Federowicz' posts, but they still revere him and think he should be employed at one of the cryonics organizations. Do they know why Mr. Federowicz isn't welcome, as an employee, at any cryonics organizations? I believe I do, but it would be "hearsay," at this point in time.

Mr. Federowicz' ramblings are extremely transparent, but few, (if any), in cryonics, see through them. They get blinded by the medical terminology and scientific formulas he throws out. They read "iatrogenic" and Poiseuille's Equation, and then sit around oooohing and aaaahhhhing, thinking they are in the presence of a medical expert.

There are at least several published accounts of Federowicz' career in cryonics, from the time he was a teenager, but I've yet to find one that mentions him attending perfusion school, or working in open-heart surgery. In order to have been "board-eligible," as he claims, Federowicz would have had to graduated from an accredited school of perfusion technology and participated in a minimum of 100 clinical cases, (and I don't believe dogs, or "legally dead" patients count). Eleven days ago, on the Cold Filter Forum, I asked Mr. Federowicz two very simple questions: "Which accredited perfusion program did he attend?" and "Where did he perform the 100 clinical cases required to sit for the boards?" Mr. Federowicz has yet to respond to these simple questions, which don't require in-depth technical discussions, terminology, or scientific equations the audience wouldn't understand. Has he neglected to answer because no amount of "smoke and mirrors," (technical jargon and scientific formulas thrown out to an audience comprised mostly of laymen), can cloud this issue? Did he disappear from the forum due to what the moderator has called my "cheap unimaginative shots," or did he disappear because I asked a valid question he doesn't want to answer?

The way transparency is supposed to work is; someone who can see through the fog points out the obvious, and something gets done about it. When a qualified professional complains, (for nearly two years), that laymen are being paid two-to-four times what their qualified counterparts would be paid, to perform well-established medical procedures, (the tasks of paramedics and perfusionists), someone does something about it. (And, "doing something about it" should not include slandering and libeling the critic.)

Edit on March 2, 2009:
Someone writes to me that the "powers that be" in cryonics "want to be told pleasant lies, all while having the form of brutal honesty." I believe this fits right in with my "Feel Good Words like Transparency" theory.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Experts" and Animal Experimentation in Cryonics

I've been thinking about animal experimentation, in cryonics, for quite some time, now. I've made comments on this blog, and on the Cold Filter forum, indicating I thought some of the experiments were unnecessary, and I've questioned the amount of suffering that has been inflicted, during cryonics dog experiments. I've never been involved in animal experimentation, in cryonics, so my concerns arise from what I have read, and what I've been told, by others. I've recently stepped up my exploration of animal experimentation, in cryonics, and I don't like what I am finding. (More on that in future posts...for now, I'll just leave you with this:

Cryonics organizations have a history of sending laymen to do their patient procedures, so I find it quite difficult to believe the quality of their animal experimentation to be much better. (If it is, isn't there something wrong with providing quality care for animal experimentation and sending laymen, sometimes with no medical experience whatsoever, to care for human patients?)

I spent the last 30 minutes searching for references to the dog experiments that have been performed at the cryonics organizations, and so far, the only information I have found is that published by the organizations, or people tied to them. In other words, the only people who seem to hold any regard for these experiments, are people tied to the cryonics organizations. The same can be said for the "cryonics experts" who carry out these experiments. As far as I can tell, their work has had little recognition outside the very small community of cryonics.

One of the people mentioned most often, in connection with the dog experiments in cryonics, is Michael ("Mike Darwin") Federowicz. Mr. Federowicz claims to have, at one time, been a "board eligible" perfusionist. I can find no record of him attending an accredited perfusion school, and thus far, he has not responded to my inquiries on this matter. Indeed, I can find no information regarding a post-secondary education, of any kind, for Mr. Federowicz. He was, at one time, a dialysis technician. Though many people in cryonics seem to have been led to believe dialysis is similar to cardiovascular perfusion, those occupations are only very distant "cousins." Dialysis technicians are often "OJT's," working in hospitals, under the supervision of RN's. Dialysis is a relatively simple process, and some patients perform their own (peritoneal) dialysis at home, by themselves. This is hardly a comparison to supporting a patient with a heart-lung machine.

There seems to be a group of "intellectuals" in cryonics who stick their noses in a lot of books and come out thinking they are medical "experts" capable of teaching laymen to perform cutting-edge medical procedures. I've been told Mr. Federowicz is a self-taught man who has become some sort of "leading expert in emergency medicine." Being a "respected contributor" to a "critical care medicine Internet discussion group," and writing a couple of articles hardly qualifies one as a "leading medical expert." ( I have a serious problem with laymen who dress themselves up in surgical garb, or white labcoats, and think they are the peers of medical professionals and qualified research scientists.

I have spent nearly two years posting on the Cold Filter cryonics forums, and blogging, about what I believe to be an extreme degree of incompetence and unethical behavior within the cryonics community, particularly within the Life Extension Foundation (LEF) funded organizations, which I believe can now be extended to include Alcor. There are some specific individuals I have targeted, for various reasons. Some of those individuals responded to my criticism by posting blatant lies about me, lies which led to one of them hiring an attorney who advised him to retract and apologize.

There is another medical professional, Larry Johnson, who seems to have received much the same treatment as I did, in cryonics. Mr. Johnson is a paramedic who was an employee of Alcor Life Extension Foundation, at the time of the Ted Williams cryopreservation scandal. After Mr. Johnson complained about the activities of Alcor, he was accused of stealing a non-disclosure form that insiders at Alcor have told me he said never existed. Interestingly, the exact same lie was told about me, and I believe that lie was told by the same person.

I first heard of Larry Johnson, when I was working at Suspended Animation, Inc., in Boynton Beach, Florida. I was told he was a liar, and an opportunist just out to "make a buck" on the Ted Williams scandal. Being new to cryonics, and thinking the people I was dealing with were honest and sincere, I took them at their word. Until news of his upcoming book, "Shiver: A Whistleblower's Chilling Expose of Cryonics and the Truth Behind What Happened to Ted Williams," I thought Mr. Johnson was dead, having been told he died in some sort of mysterious motorcycle accident.

Based on stories I have heard, from my friends in cryonics, (or, perhaps, I should say my "former friends"), I have the suspicion that Mr. Johnson is going to make certain accusations against some of the very individuals I, (without even knowing Mr. Johnson was alive), have been accusing of imcompetence and unethical behavior. If Mr. Johnson does name the same individuals I've been criticizing, will the cryonics community finally sit up and take notice, or will they simply vilify Mr. Johnson, and me, and continue to believe in the "experts" who have brought them nothing much more than a very bad public image?

It's fun to believe Santa leaves the presents under the tree, David Copperfield can make an airplane disappear, or that Bernie Madoff is earning high rates of interest on one's money, but sometimes we have to just admit the "wool is being pulled over our eyes."

Larry Johnson's "FreeTed" website.