Friday, March 12, 2010

Alcor's Chief Medical Advisor Posts Inaccurate Information, Yet Again

Steve Harris MD, (Alcor's Chief Medical Advisor), posting on the "Anti-Cult" site:
"Ms. Maxim is hardly shocked, as years ago she worked for a cryonics company where it was her job to inventory medical kits which stocked propofol for use in cryonics patients.",64749,page=31

Ms. Maxim is shocked to see Steve Harris MD persist in publicly describing her activities, at Suspended Animation, in spite of the fact he is well aware that many of his previous comments on her activities were blatant lies.

In the past, Steve Harris MD has gone so far as to falsely accuse me of lying about my credentials and of stealing documents from my employee folder, (including a non-disclosure agreement that never existed), at Suspended Animation. As Harris knows, the person who provided him with this false information hired an attorney and issued a public retraction and apology, after I threatened to sue all of them for libel. Harris works at Critical Care Research (CCR) in California, Suspended Animation (SA) is in Florida. Harris never set foot in the SA facility, while I was there. It was not my "job to inventory medical kits which stocked propofol." That was Kelly Kingston's job, something Harris should be well aware of, since, when he publicly blamed me for needed medical equipment that was not in the kits for a case, (five months after my resignation, no less), I made it very clear that, while I was working at SA, no one had been allowed to open the kits, (much less add anything, or remove anything), other than under the supervision of Kelly Kingston, who was responsible for the inventory of the kits. (Harris might refer to Charles Platt's apology, Paragraph V.)

Regardless, I was indeed aware that propofol was a medication in SA's standby protocol. HOWEVER, it was my understanding this was ONE dose, to be administered immediately after death had been pronounced. I was never made aware of a policy Harris recently described, (on the Cold Filter cryonics forum), which calls for administering additional propofol to a person who shows signs of life, during a cryonics procedure. Anyone who shows signs of awareness is not dead, and it is illegal to perform cryonics procedures on people who are alive. I am truly shocked that Harris would make such a statement, and not seem to realize the implications.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steve Harris MD Drops Bombshell on Cold Filter Cryonics Forum

***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.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Responses to my Questions about Propofol

When I worked in heart surgery, every person in the room had a job to do. While I could tell you the basics of most of the drugs the anesthesia personnel were administering, I didn't always know the specifics about the dosing, just as they did not know the details about the job I was doing. In the short time I worked at SA, I never got around to fully exploring, much less questioning, the medications protocol. At the time, I had no reason to question the designers of the protocols, and I was spending more time than I should have had to spend, fighting for changes that were within my realm of expertise, and some that seemed like they should have been simple common sense.

After the Johnson book came out, people started to ask me about the use of certain drugs in cryonics, and after the Michael Jackson incident, the focus centered on propofol. People wanted to know why laymen had access to a drug most medical professionals working in hospitals aren't allowed access to. When I raised that issue on the Cold Filter cryonics forum, Mathew Sullivan responded that Suspended Animation (SA) was not carrying enough propofol to warrant anyone accusing them of hastening the deaths of patients. Not recalling what SA's dose was, and not having one of SA's handy-dandy laminated protocols available, (three years after my resignation from that company), I remembered the meds were listed in the CI-81 case report. When I read "20mg," and looked up the dosing for propofol, I thought, "Geeez...that's nothing more than a hand-waving gesture." (Note: Somewhere along the line, I inadvertently starting typing "25mg," rather than "20mg." Platt can go on about this all he wants, but it's really meaningless. What is important is that I was questioning an extremely small dose.)

When Harris explained the dose was 200mg, and Platt said the amount in the SA report was a typo, I wrote that even 200mg seemed like a meaningless dose. Platt responded to that, with some wisecrack about my expertise, (as if "expertise" has ever been important to someone who totally disregards an expert's advice on existing equipment and sends laymen to perform medical procedures). It doesn't take expertise to form the opinion that 200mg is not enough propofol to keep someone unconscious very long, with readily-available information, regarding propofol dosing. Propofol is super-fast acting, but the effects are very short-lived, and it moves rapidly from the central nervous system, into the peripheral tissues. I think anyone reading the following information would agree that 200mg of propofol doesn't seem like enough to do what Mathew, FD and Harris claimed it was doing, ("keeping people dead," while CPR was being administered).

"anesthesia induction (healthy adults less than 55 yo)
Dose: 2-2.5 mg/kg IV given as 40 mg q10sec until induction onset...
...anesthesia maintenance (healthy adults less than 55 yo)
Dose: 0.1-0.2 mg/kg/min IV; Alt: 25-50 mg IV prn"

Using the low end of this suggested dosing, for a 70kg (154lb) man, the dosing would be 140mg for induction, followed by 7mg per min (420mg per hour)."