Thursday, February 25, 2010

Build Up, or Tear Down?

I used to live in an older community, by the water, (ironically, just a few streets over from Bill Faloon's house). While the small, older, original homes were unimpressive, the property they sat on was very valuable. A lot of the residents wanted larger, more modern homes, so there was always a lot of construction going on. Whenever I would see a contractor's signs in one of my neighbor's yards, I would ask, "Building up, or tearing down?"

Sometimes, a contractor would be able to update the original home, and add a second story. However, some of the foundations simply could not support the larger, more valuable, more attractive, more functional structure, so the original home would have to be demolished. Makes me think of Alcor. What is there to build on?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Remarks from Alcor's Attorneys

Now we have Alcor/LEF superstar attorney, Clifford Wolff, making remarks I find questionable:

"Wolff said that even though the company's preferred preservation techniques were not followed in the hours after Robbins death, the company's scientists have said cryopreservation is still possible."

"She's been on dry ice at a super-cooled temperature, which allows for cryopreservation," (Clifford Wolff) said.

If you use the traditional definition of "cryopreservation," it means to preserve something by cooling to sub-zero temperatures, and implies little-to-nothing, regarding viability. I could have cryopreserved the rotten banana I threw out a few minutes ago, but I doubt I would want to eat it in the future, any more than I did this morning. I could cryopreserve the bloated racoon I saw, in the middle of the street, yesterday, but since it's been there for more than a week, I don't think it will be waking up again, even given the benefit of future nanotech.

Whether Alcor is really concerned with fulfilling Ms. Robbins' wishes, or just trying to prove a point and collect $50K, I think they are making a HUGE mistake. While a few hundred, or even a few thousand, people interested in cryopreservation may find Alcor's efforts "heroic," most people are going to view them as a bunch of opportunistic ghouls. Is this one person, (who didn't move closer to Alcor, when she knew she was dying and Alcor suggested she do so, and didn't take steps to make sure her family did not interfere, and perhaps truly did change her mind at the last minute, (just as Timothy Leary did)), really worth the bad publicity involved? Alcor seems to be on a collision course with regulation, or extinction.

I also tend to think the use of the term "super-cooled," in Wolff's remarks, may be misleading.

Definition of "super-cooling:" lowering the temperature of a liquid, or gas, below the freezing temperature, without it becoming a solid

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brian Wowk's Testimony - Truth, or Rhetoric?

Recently, I read Brain Wowk's testimony, on behalf of Alcor, for the Arizona court. I can't seem to find that document, at the moment, but I'm certain I can regurgitate one statement Dr. Wowk made, that stuck in my mind. Though it won't be verbatim, it will be close enough that no one will be able to claim I twisted it. Essentially, he described the Johnson/Baldyga book as "400 pages of lies designed to disparage Alcor."

Does Dr. Wowk, of 21st Century Medicine (21CM) really believe what he told the judge, or was it rhetoric? It certainly appears a large percentage of the book is based on audiotapes Johnson made, while working at Alcor. I think it's safe to assume, (judging by the battle Johnson, Baldyga and their publisher have been putting up), that they can support the majority of the contents of the book, with those audiotapes. If Dr. Wowk thinks the book is filled with "lies," he should probably take that up with his colleagues and/or former colleagues, (people such as Hixon, Hovey, and Platt), since that is where Johnson seems to have obtained most of his information.

Dr. Wowk did get one thing right...
The book was intended to disparage and discredit Alcor, probably with good reason.

In my opinion, the people who defend activities most people will find to be indefensible, with statements that don't seem to be quite accurate, are further damaging Alcor's credibility , as well as risking their own professional reputations. If the judge listens to the tapes, (and rumor, on Cryonet, indicates more are to be released, soon), and he hears Alcor personnel verifying the contents of Johnson's book, what will he think of Dr. Wowk's testimony? I suppose it is possible Alcor is hoping to win on the technicality that Johnson signed some sort of mediated settlement, (though he never signed the formal agreement, nor accepted the payment that was included), before they actually have to wage a battle based on the contents of the book.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is Alcor's Attorney Claiming they are Practicing Medicine?

"Alcor is not a cult and it's not a fly-by-night operation. It's a science-based medical organization," Bentley said." (Eric Bentley, an attorney for Alcor)

Is Mr. Bentley aware that the majority of people who have performed Alcor's procedures, over the last 30+ years, have been lacking medical credentials? Once he is, will he still want to call them a "medical organization"? Is he implying their personnel have been performing legitimate "medical procedures"?

Any company that, for more than 30 years, frequently allows laymen, with little-to-no formal medical training, or experience, to dress up like doctors and chop off heads is not a "science-based medical organization," it's a joke.

The Most Stupid Question I've Ever Seen

"Cryonics professional" Mathew Sullivan, of Suspended Animation, in Boynton Beach, Florida, has been asking me the same question, repeatedly, since November.

Mathew Sullivan: "Under the right conditions, would it be appropriate to place the patient into an icebath, establish an open airway for ventilation with an O2 concentration of choice, apply chest compressions at a rate of choice, and circulate appropriate medications, until the patient reaches a given temperature where surgery will commence? Granted, this will not apply to all cryonics cases."

I've answered this question, over and over, but Mathew doesn't understand my answer. Here's the answer I gave him, (copied and pasted, from the Cold Filter forum):

"Under the right conditions" for ANY procedures X, Y and Z, it would be appropriate to perform procedures X, Y and Z. "Under the right conditions" when a person presents to the emergency room with chest pain, it's appropriate to perform open heart surgery, but "under the right conditions" when a person presents to the emergency room with chest pain, it's appropriate to give them some Maalox and send them home.

There are many problems with Mathew's question...
What are the "right conditions"?
What is the "O2 concentration of choice"?
What is the "rate of choice" for chest compressions?
What are the "appropriate medications"?
What is the "given temperature"? (And, why would Mathew wait to reach a given temperature, to commence surgery, when the surgery is for the purpose of rapid cooling??!!!)

One problem with Mathew's question is, no one knows the definitive answers to most of my questions about his question, in regards to cryonics procedures. There are people who could make educated guesses, (for any given case), regarding some of the answers, but Mathew and his co-workers are not amongst these people. If Mathew's dentist knows the answers, (as Mathew claims he/she does), Kent should find that dentist and pay him/her at least a million dollars a year.

Providing specific answers, for any specific situation, (rather than this ridiculously absurd generic scenario), would be pointless. There will be endless variations, from case-to-case, requiring on site care providers to be able to assess each unique situation, and respond, appropriately. (Having Steve Harris on the phone, is a poor substitute.) As far as I know, no SA staff member is capable of making those calls, nor are they accomplished in gaining IV access, intubating patients, competently performing a femoral cannulation, or competently performing perfusion. In addition to those glaring deficits, all evidence indicates Mathew and his peers, at Suspended Animation, know very little about their own medications protocols. They are just blindly following orders, without question.

For the millionth time, I could teach almost anyone off the street to do the tasks the RUP's are capable of performing (placing the patient in the ice bath, performing chest compressions (whether manually, or with a device such as the Autopulse, or Thumper), and injecting meds into an existing IV), within two weeks time. I would pay such people about one-third what Mathew's salary was, when I left at SA, with bonuses for going on cases, and plenty of intelligent people would be damn happy with that. In other words, I think Baldwin could have three people for the price of any one of the RUP's, (including Mathew), and four for the price of each of a couple of them. However, since SA can afford a substantial payroll, and doesn't really need 20 people sitting behind their computer monitors 24/7, maybe they should hire a few people with the appropriate educations and backgrounds required to work on issues, like these, while they sit around waiting for cases, instead.

In my opinion, only a very uninformed person would sign up for SA's services, for a number of reasons, most of which have to do with proven incompetence, a history of deception, lack of staff members' qualifications for performing the services they are said to be offering, and simple logistics.

(Expletives deleted!)

Everyone on the Cold Filter forum, EXCEPT Mathew, understood my answer, and he's the one working in cryonics. Perhaps Mathew should return to his former profession.