Friday, July 30, 2010

More Misinformation from Alcor's Chief Medical Advisor

Alcor Life Extension Foundation, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Suspended Animation, of Boynton Beach, Florida, charge a bundle for procedures based on vascular cannulations and perfusion technology. These are common procedures, in conventional medicine, and anyone qualified to perform those procedures could perform the procedures being offered by Alcor and SA. Laymen attempting to perform these procedures is most likely to result in tissue/structural damage. In spite of those facts, Alcor and SA seem to think it's acceptable to have laymen performing these procedures, and other procedures usually only performed by advanced-level paramedics. They charge $60,000 to $150,000 for their services, never promising skilled personnel will perform the surgical procedures.

The cannulations required for cryonics procedures are identical to those carried out in conventional medicine, and the perfusion procedures have very little variation from those carried out in conventional medicine. Given that the sole purpose of Alcor and SA's surgical teams is to provide vascular cannulations and perfusion, and given the amount of money being poured into these organizations, shouldn't they be delivering qualified personnel to perform those procedures? Why are (often highly-paid) laymen most often performing these procedures? Is it because no one working in cryonics knows any better?

My last post was about Steve Harris MD, (head of Critical Care Research, Alcor Life Extension Foundation's Chief Medical Advisor, Director of Suspended Animation, Advisor to Cryonics Institute), displaying a lack of knowledge, regarding the application of femoral cannulations, in conventional medicine. Harris had disagreed with me, regarding the femoral cannulations being identical to those carried out, in conventional medicine, stating those in conventional medicine are carried out on patients "with good blood pressure," and "anatomy resembling a textbook diagram." He couldn't have been more wrong. (See previous blog entry.)

In response to his error, I described a perfusion procedure, (a form of CPS/cardiopulmonary support), which involves femorally cannulating and perfusing a patient, in an emergency situation, (usually in order to transport them to an operating room, or cath lab). This is a relatively simple procedure that involves a single perfusion pump on a cart, and can be carried out in ANY hospital offering open-heart surgery. In response to my correction, Harris did a lot of research and came back with information regarding a totally different perfusion procedure, (ECMO/ECLS), which is offered only in a limited number of facilities.

Harris' post was fundamentally flawed, in that the underlying argument is that vascular cannulations and perfusion are quite common, and thousands of people are qualified to competently deliver these procedures. No one in cryonics is discussing ECMO (a prolonged perfusion procedure most often used to address neonatal respiratory distress), so his asking me for statistics regarding those procedures was pointless. It's obvious he did not recognize the CPS procedure I described, when he came back with information about ECLS, (a term used synonomously with ECMO).

It's pretty clear one of cryonics' most prominent medical advisors has limited knowledge, regarding vascular cannulations and perfusion, (the key ingredients of cryonics procedures), as performed in conventional medicine. Which should be no surprise, since I believe his specialty, prior to being involved in cryonics, was geriatrics.

Maybe Suspended Animation and/or Alcor should ask one of the qualified perfusionists they claim to be using, to have these debates with me. Of course, that person should be willing to sign their name, and take those discussions to the perfusion forums, where people who actually understand these procedures can be asked to evaluate the situation, in cryonics.

Keep in mind that people who sign up for Alcor's and SA's services are also encouraged to leave bequests and trusts, to cryonics organizations, on top of the extremely high fees. These people are screaming "REGULATION NEEDED."