Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Retracting My Acceptance of Steve Harris' Apology

Back in November 2009, Steve Harris MD, of Critical Care Research, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, (primarily funded by Life Extension Foundation), issued an apology, to me, on the "Cold Filter" cryonics forum, for untrue remarks he posted in 2007. I accepted his apology, at the time, but after further thought, I think I made a mistake.

In his apology, Harris claimed to have thought he had already apologized. The truth is, when I asked him to apologize at the time he posted the untrue statements, he responded with, "So sue me, baby." I find it impossible to believe he went from that remark to thinking he had issued an apology. Harris also claimed to be interested in knowing the truth, regarding the false statements he had made about me, on the Internet. I publicly invited him to contact me, privately, so I could provide him with the details without rehashing the events, in public, again. Since he didn't follow up, I was left wondering if his apology was insincere, and issued only with the goal of cleaning up his tarnished public image. Furthermore, since the apology, I've had to ask myself if Steve Harris is someone I would want to be congenial with, and the unequivocal answer to that is "No."

In his book, "Mothermelters," former Riverside County Coroner's Investigator Alan Kunzman wrote that Steve Harris admitted to knowing a woman, whose death certificate he signed, had died in an industrial park, though the death certificate falsely indicated she died at a residence. Why would he do sign such a document, if he was aware of the inaccuracy?

Steve Harris, and members of his family, have financially benefitted for many years, for conducting dog experiments, which I find to be highly questionable. According to LEF's form 990's, in the years 2008 and 2007, alone, Critical Care Research received nearly two million dollars, ($1,824,500), in funding, from LEF. When I was working at Suspended Animation, I was told the four fulltime employees of CCR were Harris, his wife, his mother-in-law and her significant other. We don't know who the employees currently are, (though I think it's probably safe to assume nothing much has changed), or much about what goes on at CCR. Like their sister LEF-funded organization, Suspended Animation, they are quite secretive.

Steve Harris endorses physicians, such as himself, being allowed to write prescriptions for medications to be transported and administered by cryonics personnel, (including laymen, with no medical credentials, or experience), who would not be allowed to have access to, transport, or administer these medications, in a conventional medical setting. He gets paid for acting as a "consultant," for these inexperienced persons, but does not accept responsibility for their activities. When I remarked on him not advising a cryonics team to give a maintainence dose of a certain medication, he said he would have done so, "if they had asked." He knows, as well as I do, that those people did not know to ask about any of the medications they were administering.

When I criticized CCR's sister organization, Suspended Animation, of Boynton Beach, FL, (also funded by Life Extension Foundation), Steve Harris responded by posting numerous blatant lies about me, (someone he did not know), on the Internet. A responsible physician might have written, "I have concerns about Ms. Maxim's statements, because I've heard some disturbing stories about her," but Harris wrote, I did and didn't do certain things, while working at Suspended Animation, as fact, when he had no firsthand knowledge of what I did, or didn't do, at SA, and everything he wrote was a lie. Why would he do such a foolish thing? In order to fulfill his benefactor's "loyalty" requirement?

Recently, when I questioned cryonics organizations allowing laymen to have free access to, transport, and administer the drug propofol, Steve Harris, along with SA employee Mathew Sullivan, and "FD" an anonymous poster on the Cold Filter cryonics forum, argued that the 20mg* of propofol in question was necessary so Alcor and/or SA could administer CPR to patients who had just died, without causing them pain, or waking them up. Nonsense. Propofol has an extremely short duration of action, (minutes), and a conservative dosing of propofol, for a 70kg (154lb) man, for the purposes of maintaining unconsciousness would be 140mg for induction, followed by 7mg per min (420mg per hour).

As for Harris' claim that cryonics organizations were "ahead" of conventional medicine, in recognizing that persons being subjected to CPR might experience pain, I'm going to remind him the people receiving cryonics services are supposed to be dead, and therefore, should not perceive pain. I'm also still waiting for him, or anyone else, to provide evidence of civil lawsuits that have resulted from patient awareness and pain, during the administration of CPR.

So, why is Steve Harris willing to endorse writing prescriptions for laymen to carry and administer 20mg* of propofol? I don't believe responsible physicians would endorse such activity. Was including propofol in cryonics medications protocol designed to make the public think the people carrying this, and other prescription medications, are medical professionals? Does it make them feel like they are medical professionals? Does it offer Steve Harris a greater degree of job security? Is it really a good idea for cryonics organization to be using this drug, in light of past accusations of hastening the deaths of patients?

In my opinion, Steve Harris MD is a physician who has acted irresponsibly, unprofessionally, and/or unethically, on at least several occasions. I seriously doubt his apology was sincere, and therefore, have no reason to accept it.

*Note: Steve Harris now claims, (on the Cold Filter cryonics forum), that the dose is 200mg, rather than the 20mg reported in at least one of Suspended Animation's case reports, but even 200mg is a rather insignificant dose. Propofol stays in the central nervous system (CNS) for only a matter of minutes, after which it rapidly moves into the peripheral tissues.


LEFInsider said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melody said...

To whomever signed in as "LEF Insider":

I attempted to edit out a remark you made, regarding Harris' personal life. There was no way for me to edit, so I had no choice but to delete your entire comment. If you want to comment, please leave out the personal remarks.

LEFInsider said...

You know, you are right. I probably should not personally attack Harris, even though there is so much material available to work with. I have to apoligize to Melody; I have sunk to the level of some of those on the Cold Filter site. Too bad the moderator on Cold Filter does not uphold the same standards you have here on your blog.