Saturday, October 16, 2010

Irrational Arguments for the Current Practices of Cryonics Organizations

While I was impressed with "Fundie's" sentimental rationalization for uploading, yesterday, (see my previous blog entry), I found one of his other arguments completely insane. He was writing in response to my accusations that the personnel of Alcor and Suspended Animation have been falsely presented, to the public, as physicians, something I believe is illegal.

He writes:

"As for the use of words like physician, patient, etc., definitions are *subjective*. Melody may not believe that, but her personal opinion on the subject is not sufficient justification for infringing the liberty of others. Even if the whole of "the medical community" agrees on a definition, that still doesn't make that definition objective. Even if 99.9% of society agrees, that still does not make the definition objective.

I am arguing that people have the right to go to witch doctors if they want to, and to call them doctors if they want to, and Melody has the right to try to persuade them not to, but not to interfere with what they do and say."

I'm sure most RATIONAL people see how Fundie's (irrational) rationalization does not apply to my complaint. Yes..."people have the right to go to witch doctors if they want to, and to call them doctors if they want to," BUT those witch doctors had best NOT be presenting themselves as physicians, because that would be illegal. I can call my mechanic "The Car Doctor," or my husband "Doctor Strangelove," if I want to, (just teasing, honey), but those two people cannot go around presenting themselves, or each other, as physicians. There's nothing "*subjective*" about that, the law is very clear.

If Alcor and Suspended Animation want to disclose (in BIG BOLD LETTERS on the home pages of their websites, and the front pages of their legal documents), that most of the people performing their medical procedures have little-to-no formal medical training, and some have nothing more than a high school diploma, and people still want to pay $60,000 to $150,000, (sometimes even more), for one of their procedures, I'm fine with that. Always have been, always will be.

HOWEVER, if Alcor publishes a case report, with photographs of people dressed in surgical garb, performing surgery, and in that case report they list their personnel with titles such as "Chief Surgeon," and "Assistant Surgeon," when the only known degree between those people is a BA in Philosophy, (someone please correct me, if I am wrong, in regard to Michael "Mike Darwin" Federowicz and Jerry Leaf), I say Alcor is attempting to defraud their members and potential members, into believing their personnel are physicians. When Catherine Baldwin describes herself, in a public document, as the "backup surgeon," I believe she is falsely presenting herself as a physician, with the intention of defrauding Suspended Animation's clients and potential clients.

When Fundie goes on to ponder whether everyone should agree with my views on same sex marriage, skin graft surgery, and religion, it's obvious he's desperately trying to create some sort of distraction, rather than address my accusation of cryonics organizations misrepresenting their personnel as actual medical professionals, when they are most often are not. Fundie REALLY shows his desperation with comments like, "Should we just run everything we do and say by Melody first?" Does Fundie think I don't have a a right to express my viewpoints on topics related to medical procedures and medical ethics with which I am familiar, and does he really believe I expect everyone to agree with me, on ANY given topic? Not likely. He's just trying to distract from the matter at hand. He KNOWS my complaint is valid, and especially of concern to lawmakers and regulators, given that some people associated with the organizations I am complaining about, not only ask for large fees for their shoddy services, but encourage people to leave irrevocable trusts and donate their estates to organizations such as Alcor.

]10/18/2010 EDIT: I removed the comment that "Fundie" misrepresented my viewpoints on things such as same sex marriage and skin grafts. He had written "should not be illegal" and I read "should be illegal." I'm fairly liberal in my thinking. I even think people have the right to pay six figures for a crappy cryopreservation...I just don't think the companies providing those crappy services have the right to misrepresent the quality of their services, or the qualifications of their personnel, to an unsuspecting public, and I believe that is EXACTLY what Alcor and Suspended Animation have been doing, for a very long time.

One (Hopefully) Last Comment on Uploading

When I first ventured into cryonics, (quite accidentally...I needed a job, SA had an advertisement with the word "perfusion" in it, and their facility just happened to be located near my home), I was acquainted with the notion of "uploading." The idea was presented to me as a method of exending one's life. Being mostly interested in the hypothermic medical techniques that apply to cryonics, and not accepting that one would ever be able to load one's OWN awareness into a machine, (or even another brain, or synthetic version of a brain), I didn't really pay much attention to uploading.

Later, it occurred to me that most of the uploaders were discussing making COPIES of themselves, and some of them thought the copies would actually be the same person as the original, something I found a little too abstract. If I was on my deathbed, and there were a dozen copies of me in the room, I would still be dying. My copies might think they were me, but they never would actually BE me, and once I took my last breath, the real me would still be dead.

These discussions took an even stranger turn, when some of the uploaders discussed existing in some sort of simulation, such as in digital form in a computer. To me, it seemed to be the ultimate in delusional thinking and narcissism. If I was able to upload my personality and memories into a machine, it would still NOT be "me," and the real me would still die at some point not too far in the future, relatively speaking.

I've rarely commented on uploading, until recently, when Cold Filter made the transformation from a cryonics forum, to an uploading forum, and the conversation got really ridiculous, with one CF member insisting a drawing of an hydrogen atom, on a piece of paper, is a REAL hydrogen atom. At that point, it became difficult for me to keep a straight face, and impossible to refrain from commenting.

Though I've read many articles and Internet posts on uploading, I never, NOT EVER, saw even one person describe it as a method to leave memories behind for loved ones...until yesterday. Every word I read, prior to that, seemed, to me, to be nothing more than narcissism. "Fundie" wrote how nice it would be to "...have some remnant copy of the brains of (his) grandparents and other departed loved ones, with which he could interact." I think that's a lovely sentiment, I truly do. I was blessed enough to know my grandparents, and even most of my great-grandparents, very well. In fact, three of my grandparents only recently died, (when I was 48 - 50), so even my youngest child knew them. One of my great-grandparents lived until I was 29, and my daughter, his great-great granddaughter, was six. I wasn't just acquainted with these people; I spent time with them; I knew and loved them. It was one of the great tragedies of my life, when my favorite grandparent, (my mother's mother), died at the age of 69, and I would do anything to have been able to interact with even a copy of her, these last 24 years.

With that said, a copy of her would not be her, any more than her diaries and photos, (things I regularly enjoy), are her. A copy, or simulation, of my grandmother would not be my grandmother, even if it was something I could hug. SHE, (my REAL grandmother), would not be feeling my love for her, and I would know that.

Off and on, for the past decade, or so, I've researched my family tree, and I have a lot of information about relatives who died long before I was born. While there are a few characters I would certainly like to meet, (maybe even if it was just a simulation), just how much time would I be willing to spend with the "dead relatives"? Other than the ones I actually grew up with, probably not much. Of my currently living relatives, I have my parents and step-parents, whom I love as parents. I have three children of my own, a beloved stepson and one grandson, so far. I have five half-siblings, an assortment of step-siblings, and nine nieces and nephews, (a number sure to increase, since some of my half-siblings are much younger than I). I have 11 living aunts and uncles, and 14 first cousins, all who have spouses and children of their own. I love these people and I don't have time to spend with most of them. There are currently 599 people in my family tree, on While it's fun to do the research, and to learn the history of some of these people, why would I drag out a simulation of a great-great grandparent I never even met, when I don't have enough time to spread out amongst my living relatives, all of whom I love very much. I probably wouldn't.

Though I found "Fundie's" argument for uploading his personality and memories touching, I think it strayed far from the mainstream uploaders. As I already stated, most uploaders never mention anyone other than themselves, or how they might enjoy living in some virtual world, where they could create simulations of their every desire coming true, ala Edgar Swank. Then, there's Mathew Sullivan, who now seems to want nothing more than a servant, who can anticipate his every need/desire.

I can't imagine that anyone past my grandchildren, will be interested in me, as they will have their own lives and a wealth of LIVING relatives. On a humorous note, I CAN imagine being a computer, sitting around on a desk, getting dusty. and whining about how the great-great-great-grandkids have no interest in me. ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome and Cryonics

A disproportionate number of cryonicists seem to be suffering from some sort of syndrome that results in them planning to be alive far into the future, without actually accomplishing anything of scientific merit that might provide for that. Like Scarlett O'Hara, they'd rather "think about that tomorrow." Actually, they'd much rather depend on SOMEONE ELSE to think about their problems, tomorrow. (Their "tomorrow" being decades, or hundreds of years, from now.) A significant percentage of these people spend their lives, sitting at their computers, expounding on abstract ideas and patting one another on the back, for accomplishing little more than having vivid imaginations. Interestingly, most of them claim to be atheists, and have dismissed religion as mythological, not realizing they are doling out more faith than most religious zealots.

Want to store 100,000 people in a geodesic dome, at cryogenic temperatures? Just imagine stuffing them in there, with little thought as to how each of them can be maintained, or retrieved without disturbing the others, or what type of cooling system could be used, or how machines could operate in such an extremely cold environment...let the scientists and engineers of tomorrow worry about that. Luke Parrish thinks one can stuff "ten bodies, or 100 heads," in each cubic meter. (This reminds me of stuffing people into phone booths and VW, but not very practical, especially if the goal is to keep all of them at a uniform temperature and to be able to extract one from the middle, without disturbing the others.)

Luke writes: "A cubic meter would hold around 100 heads or 10 bodies. A thousand cubic meters in a cubic shape is just 10x10x10 meters, with 600 square meters. So if the energy cost is $100/month per square meter, 100,000 neuro people could be stored in something costing $60,000/month to run. 60 cents, in other words."

(I think Luke's cost analysis was overly simplistic, to say the least.)

Later, Luke writes about storing "millions of people," in his imaginary cryo-domes, because, according to him, "The fact is it is would be unselfish for everyone to choose cryonics because it would bring down the cost for everyone else. It would be less ecologically damaging because the energy usage per person would be reduced. Compared to burial or cremation, it could actually have a significantly reduced environmental impact."

Oh pooh...Why worry about the environment?...I'm sure the nanobot scientists of the future will take care of that, too.

Want to send laymen with no medical education or experience, whatsoever, to perform advanced medical procedures known to be deadly, when performed improperly? Go ahead, send anyone off the street who volunteers to pretend to be a surgeon or a perfusionist, and let them turn someone's brain into scrambled eggs. Who cares? No need to worry about silly things like subjecting the subjects to inappropriate temperatures and intravascular pressures. The scientists of tomorrow are sure to be willing to spend their lives, (and money), trying to reverse the (most likely irreversible) damage. (Sarcasm, for anyone not familiar with my writing, or my opinions of the way cryonics procedures are carried out.)

I thought the goal of "uploading" was to be able to transcend the (mortal) human body, so that one could live longer, but I guess that hasn't really been the goal, for all cryonicists involved in this little "virtual adventure." It seems Mathew Sullivan simply wants a maid/secretary. Mathew writes the word "avatar" a lot, and mentions games like "Second Life," an Internet game, where one can engage in a fantasy life, selecting the avatar's looks, engaging in virtual shopping and work...heck, one's avatar can even fly! (Is it just me, or is "Second Life" something that seems like it should only be appealing to adolescents? I tried to look up the demographics, but there are conflicting reports and most of them seem more like marketing, than anything else.)

Robert Ettinger and Aschwin de Wolf have warned that associating the medical science aspect of cryonics, with these bizarre futuristic fantasies, may be damaging to the cryonics community. I don't think they realize the people engaged in these discussions want attention, more than success. How else could one explain the same handful of people consistently doling out crackpot ideas, (nearly all of which require a great deal of effort on the part of the scientists of the future), while actually doing nothing to prove those ideas? How many of these people are actually engaging in studying related sciences and/or technologies, (and I don't mean the self-directed, self-evaluated "studying" many cryonicists engage in), compared to the number who are just sitting at their computer monitors, every day, fantasizing about topics they barely understand? These people are not engaging in any sort of meaningful scientific endeavors; they're engaging in make-believe. Twenty years from now, most of them will probably still be sitting at their computers, imagining the scientists of the future are going to be carrying out their fantasies, and still doing NOTHING, in actuality. It's their own little version of "Second Life."

Maybe cryonicists should consider addressing problems that CAN be resolved, in the present, like delivering cryonics providers who can competently perform the surgical procedures the cryonics organizations are marketing. When Luke and his friends can back up their fantasies with theories, and proposed methods of implementation that more than a couple of dozen people will embrace, maybe I'll give their theories some thought. Until then, I'll probably just keep laughing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

EUCRIO, Cryonics UK and Ben Best

Ben Best writes:
"David Styles announce the beginning of Eucrio, an organization intended to give Suspended Animation, Inc -like standby/stabilization services to all the countries in the European Union, plus Norway..."

That should scare the hell out of cryonicists across the pond! Suspended Animation has an established history of sending laymen to attempt to perform, (and miserably botch!) advanced medical procedures.

"...David has a lot of energy, intelligence, and determination, so if anyone can make this project work, he is one of the few..."

Ben Best has also been a staunch advocate of Suspended Animation, even when others at Cryonics Institute felt he was grossly misrepresenting SA's capabilities, on CI's website.
Styles claims to have medical professionals, ready to perform cryonics procedures, all across Europe, but I've seen NO evidence of that. He certainly is living up to Ben's description as being "Suspended Animation, Inc-like"!
Cryonics Quackery

In response to Styles announcement of EUCRIO, one cryonics enthusiast writes:
"Dear David,
I have always been interested in cryonics, so when I read that a new cryonics service provider had been born in Europe I greeted the news with enthusiasm. Then I went to your website and read this:

EUCRIO charges a membership fee of €35/month, and then an extra fee per service, which each will run into the tens of thousands of euros.

Really? Have you done your maths/market research correctly? Let me help you out:

assuming an average remaining lifespan of 50 years (I am 32), my membership expenses will come up to 21,000 euros PLUS "an extra fee per service, which each will run into the tens of thousands of euros". So, say, 30-40000 euros to have someone chop my head off, wrap it in dry ice, and post it to the US, where the storage facility will charge me an additional 80000 dollars to perfuse and store my head. Oh wait, since I won't have been paying my Alcor membership religiously for the previous 50 years (because I was paying EUCRIO's), that's another 25000 dollars 'last minute' fee. Thus, the total price for my suspension will be: 80000 + 25000 + 55000 USD (=40000 euros) = 160000 USD!
You've gotta be kidding.

1) your service is MUCH MORE expensive than Alcor's, which charges 25000 USD for its international stand by/recovery option. Why would anyone choose you, then? If I am run over by a bus, do you really think that my chances of being resucitated will be much higer after my brain has been at room temperature for, say, 5 hours (time that it will take you to fly to where I am in Europe) than 12 hours (time that it will take Alcor to fly to where I am in Europe)?

2) while Alcor have been seen to do what they promise and haggle corpses with hospitals in a few occasions, where's the guarantee that you won't just pack up and disappear? The fact that you mention having at your disposal doctors, technicians, and specialists of all sorts without identifying anyone able to vouch for you, as well as your complete lack of investment in infrastructures (at least Alcor have spent some money on its facilities and equipment) smacks of SCAM SCAM SCAM.

Seriously, do you think people are idiots? Who is your target audience, rational individuals who see potential in the progress of scientific knowledge or impressionalble cult followers?

And even the latter can probably do simple arithmetics and figure out quickly that you are unbelievably expensive (way more than any other provider on the market) and have no credentials whatsoever. You are doing the cryonics movement a disservice and I sincerely hope that you will be exposed soon.,64749,page=50 (Emphasis added.)

Recent cryonics activities do appear more "cult-like" and "scam-like," than ever before. I hate to say this, but Ben Best seems to be somewhere near the center of some very questionable marketing efforts.

Too Much Fantasy, Not Enough Reality, in Cryonics

A member of the Cold Filter cryonics forum has spent more than a week, arguing with Mr. Robert Ettinger, (a great mind and the "Father of Cryonics"), about what constitutes a hydrogen atom. Luke Parris seems to be arguing that drawings on paper, or digitalized simulations, can be hydrogen atoms. In some very desperate attempts, he resorts to semantics, arguing that his simulation is "real." He seemed to think Mr. Ettinger would ignore that fact that, while it is a real SIMULATION, it is still NOT a genuine hydrogen atom.

Now, Luke wants to argue that, if he were to visit an alien world, his definition of the word "human" might be different than that of the inhabitants. That's just fantasyland. We're here, on earth, Mr. Ettinger is not an alien, (and neither is Luke, so far as I know), and people attempting to engage in scientific discussion MUST use the accepted definitions of known terms.

Judging by his bizarre arguments, it seems Luke probably thinks that if he draws an atom on a piece of paper, and then rips his drawing in half, he has accomplished nuclear fission, which begs the question, "If Luke tears a stack of drawings of atoms in half, will he blow himself up?"

Luke's entire argument has been BEYOND ridiculous and absurd. Not only that, but he has been disrepectful to Mr. Ettinger, throughout the discussions. The only redeeming features of the discussion have been Mr. Ettinger's arguments, and more than anything, Mr. E's hilarious remarks, (such as calling Luke's argument a "simulation of a discussion." )

Mr. Ettinger says "enough," in response to Luke's total nonsense, and wants to know where he has "failed to make things clear." Mr. Ettinger did not fail; his side of the argument was crystal clear. It is Luke who has failed to comprehend the perfectly clear and logical arguments, presented by Mr. Ettinger.

Luke's entire history of posting, on the Cold Filter forum, has been largely comprised of illogical arguments for far-out ideas. That's the problem with cryonics, too many people are engaging in make-believe, and there's a tremendous deficit of common sense and rational logic.

For anyone who has time to waste, and wants a good laugh, here are links to the discussions:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can't Make up for Poor Diet with Vitamins

"Vitamins and dietary supplements: Get your fill from food instead

"People assume that taking extra Vitamin C will prevent colds or lower their risk of cancer or any other disease. Vitamin supplements have been well studied and it's been concluded that not only are they not good for you but can be harmful if taken in large doses, like Vitamin E. If you look at the consensus papers, they very consistently show that there is no benefit to taking these, but people want to believe otherwise," Dr. Richard A. Baxter, a board certified plastic surgeon in Washington and a contributor to

"The only alternative is a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. If you believe you need to take antioxidants for your health, you need to get polyphenols from things like blueberries and red wine. You cannot eat a poor diet and make it up with vitamins. The only exception to the rule seems to be Vitamin D."

"Under federal law, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the manufacturer is not required to demonstrate that its product is pure, safe and effective. So consumers beware," says Dr. Gary Wadler, board certified internist practicing on Long Island and an expert on drug use in sports. "Plus, many have interactions with medications that consumers are taking. Because they have interactions, both patients and doctors need to be aware of it. And in my area of sports, athletes are testing positive, because they are taking contaminated dietary supplements."

See full article from WalletPop:

(Emphasis added.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Faulty Logic in the "Uploading" Debate

In my opinion, this is the most significant point made, thus far, in the recent "uploading" debates:

Mr. Ettinger: "Luke's remarks about simulations being real, i.e. that the parts and events in a computer are material, is irrelevant."

Luke's comment was truly irrelevant. As I understand it, (or thought I understood it), the point of uploading was to transcend the human body, and live forever. Luke's argument that his simulation of a hydrogen atom, (whether on paper, or programmed into a computer), is "real," is lame. Yes, a photo of me would be "real," (a real photo of me), but it would not be me. Luke is going off on a tangent, while Mr. Ettinger is sticking to the debate of whether a copy could ever be the original. (Mr. Ettinger has a lot more patience, than I!)

REPRINT of Old Post from Cold Filter Cryonics Forum

In searching for some information for a new post I wanted to make, I stumbled upon an exchange I had with Ben Best, about Suspended Animation, more than two years ago. I wanted to preserve it on my blog, and find it still relevant since SA continues on a path of incompetence, (see this recent post, and this), so here it is:

Endless Debate
April 18 2008 at 6:14 PM

Ben: If SA had failed to wash-out the blood, then that could be a source of blood on the board, even without vascular damage. So it is contradictory to claim that the only source of blood could have been from vascular damage when you are claiming that residual blood would be expected from an inadequate wash-out.

You are correct, in that I should have written "possible evidence," as the blood Andy described could have indicated several things. I believe SA over-pressurized the patient to the point of vascular damage, due to what I consider to be a mountain of evidence in the SA report, regarding alarms, the funeral director inquiring if the pump was on at the time of the spurt, etc., and the general inability of the team to address the pressure issues they were obviously experiencing, as well as my personal knowledge of the members of the team and their capabilities (or lack thereof), and my expertise in perfusion. I believe the patient was subsequently under-perfused, due to what I calculate to be a rather low average flow rate.

Ben: In any case -- as I pointed-out previously -- a clot associated with the stroke hemorrhage in the right hemisphere dislodged during the vitrification perfusion, and there was adequate release of blood to explain blood on the board.

Andy has already anticipated the question I was going to ask, here, and has stated that perfusion was continued, following the removal of the clot, until the effluent was clear, and that the board was subsequently clean. SA attempted to perfuse the entire patient (both head and body), and CI perfused the head a second time, but it seems that blood remained in the patient and drained later, indicating an incomplete washout. I have to agree with Andy, that it is more probable the blood came from the body, rather than the head that was perfused twice, and I can’t imagine you want to argue that CI didn’t do an adequate isolated perfusion of the head.

Why did the clot remain, following SA’s attempts to perform the washout procedure, anyway? What about the clot-dissolving medications (streptokinase) the SA team supposedly administered? Are you aware that streptokinase is contraindicated in stroke patients? "Streptokinase has not been shown to benefit patients with acute ischemic stroke, but it has been shown to increase their risk of intracranial hemorrhage and death. Of 3 major randomized controlled trials, all were terminated prematurely because streptokinase was associated with unacceptable rates of mortality."

Ben: My use of the word "fabrication" was meant in the sense of rationalization not intentional deception ("lie"). I believe the authors wrote that the blood spurt occurred under pressure from the ATP to rationalize or explain the spurt, without good evidence for this rationalization.

Where I come from, (the South), the word "fabrication" is a polite word for "lie." At any rate, there should be no tolerance of "rationalization," or "fabrication," in a medical case report. Of course, what can we expect from someone who excels at writing FICTION? (Not that there is anything wrong with fiction, when it is identified as such.) There’s a lot of other information that should not have been included in the SA case report, such as comments about an employee’s second job, and comments about a former employee, and I think you know the spirit in which those comments were made. I believe there has been a lot of "rationalization" at SA, in the past, "rationalization" that has perhaps led to quite a few ill-advised courses of action, the firing and resignations of capable persons, AND perhaps in people like you, Ben, believing in the capabilities of SA more than you should.

Ben: There would be no motive for the authors to intentionally deceive readers into believing that the ATP caused the blood spurt. That is the crux of your case that damage was caused.

You've hit the proverbial nail on the head, Ben. The authors could not possibly want to deceive people into believing they over-pressurized the patient. The point is: THEY DID NOT KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT PERFUSION TO REALIZE THE IMPLICATIONS OF WHAT THEY WERE WRITING!! The crux of my case that damage was caused are details in the report, and the fact that the SA team and case authors didn't have a clue as to what they were doing, or even writing. I think it's blatantly obvious they were too ignorant of perfusion technology to realize that what you now call a "rationalization" would strongly indicate damaging over-pressurization of the patient. Who in the world would create, and include, fabricated remarks in a report, that would indicate malpractice??? Only someone who was not knowledgeable enough to understand that what he was writing would indicate gross mistreatment of a patient. Why are you so willing to turn over the care of CI's patients to people who know so little about the medical procedures they claim to be capable of providing? How can you call them “experts,” and refer to their services as “state of the art,” when their staff members are extremely unqualified and they are decades behind, in regard to the quality of care provided in conventional medicine, in virtually identical procedures?

Ben: I could say that your arguments are self-serving because you have had bitter personal experiences with Charles Platt and you want to prove that he is an evil, incompetent man. It is better to stick to the evidence of the case than to challenge motives and character -- which too easily leads to acrimony.

I don't think I would call Charles, (or anyone), "evil," and I don't think he is "incompetent," in general. (I think you'll find me sincerely praising his writing skills, and other talents, on this forum, on a number of occasions.) However, I do believe he has no place in managing people, or in making decisions regarding medical procedures and/or the related equipment.

Are the motives and character of someone who exerts a significant amount of influence over major decisions of a company that is offering medical services irrelevant? I think not. What if their motives ARE self-interest, greed, or their own egotistical needs, more so than patient care or overall progress in the field?

If you consider someone who doesn't want cryopreservation to be “committing suicide,” as you seem to, then is a company providing less than optimal medical care, when they can afford quality professionals and equipment, not guilty of “negligent homicide,” at best? Why should a company send a fabricator to attempt a very dangerous medical procedure, when they pay him the same salary as a qualified person who could SAFELY perform the procedure? I have no idea how you can be supportive of this behavior, or how you don't see that the main focus of SA, for many years, has been certain "engineering" projects, rather than the provision of competent patient care. I believe this is clearly evidenced by the three inexperienced, unqualified people who showed up for the CI-81 case.

Ben: I think that what serves me best is to know the truth, whether this be mistakes or a job well done. The case reports I write disclose many mistakes, including mistakes made by me. The best way to avoid repeating future mistakes is to document them well and think about how to avoid making the same mistakes again in the future.

The best way for SA to avoid mistakes in perfusing a patient, would be to take the $77,000 being paid to one of the fabricators who was on the CI-81 team and pay it to a perfusionist. They can report perfusion mistakes until the earth gets swallowed up by the sun, but they are not going to be able to properly train laymen with a weekend trip to California, some videos, and one case in four years. Anyone who thinks they can doesn't have a proper understanding of perfusion technology.

Ben: I do not accept the claim that if a person perfusing a cryonics Patient has not had four years of perfusion training that that the patient will necessarily have experienced vascular damage

I certainly agree that I could have probably been a good perfusionist without the numerous hours of English, History, Government, Psychology, and other classes I was required to take for my degree, but I believe I would have killed quite a number of patients without my clinical experience. I performed 110 cases, on human patients, with an instructor standing over my shoulder, to prevent me from harming anyone, before I graduated perfusion school. This was after many months of classroom instruction on perfusion techniques, and with a good understanding of anatomy and physiology. How in the world can anyone as intelligent as you, believe Gary and Ken can walk out of the shop and safely perform perfusion? You can only think this because, as my husband says, "people don't know what they don't know." What you don't know about perfusion and the SA personnel allows you to believe they can safely perform whole body perfusion, but I believe I know better.

Ben: By that logic every cryonics patient ever perfused or given a wash-out by CI or Alcor would have experienced serious vascular damage -- more harm than good -- because they were not perfused or washed-out by a professional perfusionist. Why single-out the 81st patient?

It's wrong of you to say I assume every patient has experienced serious vascular damage, as there isn't much evidence of over-pressurization in CI's reports. The circuit pressures CI mistakenly recorded as patient pressures would have been significantly higher than the actual patient pressures, so I doubt any pressure-induced vascular damage occurred. In that situation, I would be more concerned with wondering if the pressure was high enough to adequately perfuse the brain. I single out the 81st patient because it's the only SA case report I've thoroughly reviewed, and as far as I know it is the only case performed by the current staff. As I’ve mentioned, many times before, my purpose is to expose what I believe to be irresponsible and unethical behavior at a company of which I have firsthand knowledge, so I have no idea why you think I would discuss Alcor, or CI cases, in which SA was not involved. There are a number of other reasons I single out the SA case, including the fact that SA can afford medical professionals, while Alcor and CI may not be able to.

Ben: I acknowledge that improving perfusion quality is important, and I believe that Alcor, CI and SA are all making efforts to improve perfusion quality. The point at issue here is not whether perfusion in cryonics (or for the 81st patient) could have been better, but whether vascular damage was caused.

The REAL question I’m asking is: Why is SA not providing qualified, experienced perfusionists and EMTs or paramedics, when they can easily afford to? Why should they pay equivalent salaries to people who don't even understand the procedures enough to realize what their reports indicate, or worse yet, to people incapable of even authoring their own reports, due to their total lack of knowledge in regard to the procedures, and medicine and cryonics, in general?! With the salaries they pay, SA should be providing EXCELLENT, PROFESSIONAL medical services, not simply "better" than what has been available in cryonics, in the past.

I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with your comments in regard to SA's efforts to improve. I don't see any evidence of change, other than the last News Bulletin which indicated they have implemented a few suggestions Mathew, Aschwin and I made a long time ago, suggestions that were previously ignored, (BLS certification, lift gates, etc.) It also included news regarding the new "workshop" in California, which only leads me to believe the primary focus of SA remains the "engineering and design" projects of Charles Platt. We haven't heard anything from SA, in months. When you tell me SA is using the more than half-a-million-dollars I (conservatively) estimate they are spending, annually, on their payroll and consulting fees, to pay for medical professionals, as they should, I'll believe SA is making an effort to improve.

Ben: Even if a single spurt caused some harm (and this is questionable if a spurt would relieve pressure and the ATP was immediately turned-off) it does not constitute evidence that it resulted in such damage as to override the many benefits of the SA treatment for the patient.

WHAT BENEFITS, Ben??? Packing the patient in ice and performing chest compressions, or injecting meds into IVs that were, fortunately, left in place by hospital personnel? (I don't believe any of the three SA team members would have been able to gain IV access.) Almost anyone off the street could and would do those things, for not much more than minimum wage, so why does SA WASTE a payroll and consulting fees that are most certainly well over a half-a-million dollars a year on this??? (Again, I think this figure is conservative.) Don't you get my point that SA could have a qualified perfusionist, and medical personnel experienced at intubation and the insertion of IVs, for the amount of money they spend on employees and consultants?? And, why do you believe CI's clients should pay $60,000, (about three times the cost of open-heart surgery), for a bunch of rank amateurs to possibly harm them through the improper use of a perfusion circuit, rather than leaving that money to cryonics research, or their heirs? Note from October 10, 2010: I neglected to note that this comment, from Ben, was inherently ridiculous. it was not the "single spurt" that would have caused the harm, but the pressure that had built up inside the patient, prior to the incision, (which resulted in the spurt), that would have been deleterious. The spurt was not the problem; it was evidence that inappropriate pressures had been applied to CI-81's vascular system, and hence all internal organs and tissues, (including the brain, of course), for god-knows-how-long, prior to the cannulation attempt.

Ben: I am not claiming to certain knowledge of what happened during the wash-out. Any scenario I can construct of the events associated with the blood spurt is like a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing -- or pieces that don't fit. But although all the explanations have deficiencies, none of them can be used to make a convincing argument for vascular damage. This was the key point of my posting, and you did not address this point in your reply.

I think the report has more than enough circumstantial evidence that charges of gross negligence and malpractice, most likely including over-pressurization to the point of vascular damage, would hold up in court, if this were not a "legally dead" person.

Ben: I regret if anything I have had to say here strikes you as a personal offense.

Ditto. I also regret that we have such strong difference of opinion, in regard to the services of SA, but you know I will argue that I understand perfusion better than you, and that I have experience working with the SA staff and consultants, other than Ms. Baldwin. You don't offend me, but you disappoint me by continuing to endorse a company I feel has behaved unethically, and has shown little evidence of a change in strategy.

CI is, for the most part, SA’s only source of new clients and therefore holds the leverage to force that company to behave more responsibly by demanding they provide experienced, qualified personnel, (which would not affect their budget), yet you don’t do this. In my mind, there won't be significant change at SA, for as long as the staff and consultants remain the same, and you are helping to maintain the status quo. Unfortunately, I feel this endless debate could go back-and-forth, forever, so I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree.