***Edited March 12, 2010, with note at the bottom.
On March 7, 2010, Steven B Harris MD, of Critical Care Research, a physician associated with both Alcor Life Extension Foundation and Suspended Animation, wrote the following, on the Cold Filter cryonics forum, in response to my questions about the drug propofol (Diprivan):
"We give 200 mg. There you are. If there are any signs of awareness later, such as eyelid movement or even shivering (not a sign of awareness but certainly a sign of CNS activity), another equal dose is held in reserve."
In other words, they give an initial dose of 200mg propofol to people, at the time of "legal death." Then, in the event the person for whom they are providing cryonics services, (which include the application of CPR), shows signs of life, they give another 200mg dose of propofol, to render the person unconscious, so they can continue with their cryonics procedures. (The "we" in Harris' post refers to cryonics standby teams from Alcor Life Extension Foundation, in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Suspended Animation, in Boynton Beach, Florida. Suspended Animation also provides standby services for Cryonics Institute, in Michigan.)
If they see signs of life, administer more propofol, and continue with their procedures, (which would result in death), could they be accused of murder? Since Harris' statement indicates this has been planned in advance, would it be premeditated murder? Are Baldwin, Kingston, Battiato, Sullivan, Schroeder or Ruc, (the last publicly-named employees of Suspended Animation), willing to administer that "reserve" dose of propofol to a person showing signs of life? What about Alcor paramedic, Aaron Drake? Are the licensed, certified perfusionists who have been working with Suspended Animation aware of this policy? Are they willing to be a part of it? What about Ben Best, the president of Cryonics Institute, who has been an enthusiastic advocate of Suspended Animation's services? Does he, or anyone else at Cryonics Institute, endorse this plan?
For several years, now, I have been questioning certain cryonics activities, especially those that appear to be "ticking time bombs," with the potential to bring down the entire cryonics industry. I firmly believe that, considering the amount of money being invested by Life Extension Foundation, (which provides funding for Suspended Animation, Critical Care Research and 21st Century Medicine), and Alcor, (which also receives some funding from Life Extension Foundation), cryonics activities could be carried out in a much more ethical, professional manner. I believe there are ways to provide services superior to those currently being provided, and in a manner that would not constantly draw accusations of unethical and/or illegal behaviors. Is it the goal of the organizations involved to protect the cryonics industry, by properly addressing issues, such as this one? Or, do they really think quashing people like Larry Johnson, and me, would solve all their problems? I've got news for them...for every person who complains about them, publicly, there are dozens who are taking other avenues to register their complaints.
Harris: "If there are any signs of awareness later, such as eyelid movement or even shivering (not a sign of awareness but certainly a sign of CNS activity), another equal dose is held in reserve."
Maxim: Did Harris just write that, in the event a cryonics patient shows signs of life, the cryonics team is going to give them another dose of propofol? Shivering means the muscles are receiving signals from the hypothalamus and, as far as I know, legally dead people do not shiver. In fact, when people are subjected to hypothermia, they usually stop shivering even before they lose consciousness.
Note: On March 12, 2010, Steve Harris MD commented, further, on the use of propofol, in cryonics. He wrote:
"It is thus in cryonics that there is a theoretical possibility that a person in cardiac arrest who has been classed as legally dead might become aware of chest compression. We all hope this never happens, and part of the purpose of propofol is be sure that it does not."
Anyone who "becomes aware" is alive, and it is illegal to perform cryonics procedures on people who are alive. Harris has already stated that they keep 200mg of propofol in "reserve," in case the person shows signs of awareness (life). This strongly implies they fully intend to inject a living person with the drug propofol, so they can continue their cryonics procedures, in the event someone responds to their CPR efforts and regains consciousness.
The protocols need to be revised and, no, (in a response to a question in Harris' post), I am not suggesting waiting 10-15 minutes. If that is the only alternative Harris and his peers can come up with, they aren't thinking very hard. The problem with the status quo in cryonics, is they are not open to change, especially if it involves admitting they have been wrong, or changing any of the protocols and/or equipment they have designed.