Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Numbers for Remote Standby

Someone recently accused me of "threatening the livelihood" of the people employed at Suspended Animation, a company offering remote "standby, stabilization and transport" services, by limiting the number of new clients they might recruit. I believe that to be an extremely irrational accusation, based on the following information:

According to the CIA World Factbook, as of December 18, 2008, the United States currently has a mortality rate of approximately 8.27 deaths/1,000 population (0.827%). According to a document on Alcor's website, they estimate the annual number of cryonics cases to be approximately 41 per 5,000 prospective members, which is in agreement with the CIA statistics. Considering the relative youth and health consciousness of people interested in cryonics, I would guess their mortality rate to be significantly lower, but I will use the 0.827% figure, just to be generous.

There are currently only 1,240 people who have funded contracts for cryopreservation, (883 with Alcor, and 357 with Cryonics Institute). This would put the current expected number of cryopreservations at approximately ten cases per year. How many of those cases are likely to involve "standby, stabilization and transport"? One, or two?

SA charges $37,500 to transport a patient who dies before they get there, (which I am estimating would be 90% of the time), to CI. Let's just say they make a profit of $30K for those cases.

The cost of "standby, stabilization and transport" for patients who are alive when a team arrives, will vary from case-to-case, depending on a number of factors, with the most significant factors probably being the length of the standby and the location of the patient. Without many real numbers to go on, other than the costs that do not vary much, (such as the cost of the solutions, medication and disposables), I'll arbitrarily place the average cost of a remote "standby, stabilization and transport" at $30K per case. I believe SA charges $60K for such a case, so again SA is left with a $30K profit.

A company with an annual budget of approximately $1.4M per year, (an estimate of SA's annual budget, based on what it was, when I was there, and the "improvements" they have made), and an income of $30K per case, would have to do approximately 47 cases per year, to break even. Using the above numbers, this means Suspended Animation would require approximately 5,683 clients, (approximately 4.58 times the current number of members of Alcor and CI, combined), to break even.

Suspended Animation has only 74 clients that we know of. (SA's News Bulletin 13 of February 2008, states their 58th client signed up in January and News Bulletin 14 of December 2008 states they had a total of 17 new clients sign up, during 2008). Since they are about 5,609 clients short of breaking even, I doubt I could be held responsible if that company were to fail. Some people might want to blame me, if the LEF funding dries up, but shouldn't those who have set a long-standing pattern of fiscal irresponsibility, at SA, should be held responsible, if that happens? What I'm worried about is, what would happen to their clients who may not have made alternative arrangements, if SA was to close its doors.