I've been reluctant to answer FD's inquiries on this topic, mainly because I have no desire to engage in yet another "flame war," with yet another "cryonics expert." (I'm not sure any such thing exists!) Regardless, I made a remark, which FD wishes me to clarify, so I shall attempt to, though I know I'll ruffle a few feathers.
I believe my first introduction to Mike Darwin was when Charles Platt asked me to read a review of the SA facility, Mike had written. Being new to SA, I was under the impression they were operating on a semi-restrictive budget, and I was also under the impression that Charles Platt was some sort of well-intentioned person who really wanted my professional advice, (impressions that would both be shattered, within a matter of months). Mike's report seemed so hostile, I found his review truly offensive, from the first page, on. (In Mike's defense, many who haven't witnessed some of the bad behavior that goes on within cryonics organizations and who have read my posts on this forum, might feel the same thing about me. At this point in time, I can truly understand Mike's hostility.)
Even if I could look past what I perceived as Mike's hostility, I disagreed with a lot of Mike's advice and opinions, especially in regard to perfusion and perfusion equipment. (FD is going to want me to elaborate, but I truly can't remember many of the details, I just remember disagreeing with a lot of what I read. The technical details of the specifics I can remember would take me too long to explain, on this forum.)
Recently, Mike Darwin made some remarks in an online scientific discussion group, regarding errors made by medical professionals, in cryonics. I found his remarks to be more than a little offensive, and I responded that, surely, any "errors" made by medical professionals in cryonics paled in comparison to the many blunders made by laymen who don't know what the hell they are doing. Mike got all huffy and raised Cain about not having been informed that I had been added to the discussion group, (which led me to wonder if he would have not made his remarks about medical professionals, had he known one was going to read them.)
I don't have my response handy, (and I'm not inclined to duplicate it, in detail), but I believe I questioned Mike's perfusion expertise and his familiarity with current equipment. As I recall, he responded that he reads all the perfusion journals, that he has a collection of perfusion equipment, and that he was once eligible to sit for the perfusion board exams. I had stated I wasn't going to get into a "back-and-forth" with Mike, so I abstained, (at least, until now), from responding that I didn't quite think those things stacked up to my experience of actually passing the board exams and pumping approximately 1,500 human cases, with a large variety of equipment. I've never seen any record of Mike graduating from an accredited perfusion school, or pumping 100 clinical cases, in order to be eligible to sit for the boards. If he did so, why didn't he take the board exams? It doesn't make sense, to me, that someone who considers himself to be a "cryonics expert" wouldn't take the perfusion board exams, if they were eligible. Perfusion is the technology used to deliver both the washout and vitrification solutions, after all.
In my response, I also mentioned that, when I first started making suggestions, regarding changes to Suspended Animation's perfusion circuit, I had to debate with Mike on issues related to the perfusion circuit. Mike responded that he couldn't recall ever communicating with me. Actually he was correct...the communications were indirect. As I recall, I would suggest a change to Charles, he would relay it to Aschwin and/or Mathew, they would discuss it with Mike, and then I would be forwarded his response, (usually arguments against my suggested changes). At some point, I asked Charles if he had really brought me there to revise the perfusion circuit, or simply to engage in endless debate with people who might not understand perfusion as well as they thought they did. I said if he had hired me to approve of the existing circuit, he had wasted a lot of time and money. As I understood it, the circuit I was supposed to be modifying was nearly an exact replica of the circuit at Alcor that had been used by amateurs to pump gross amounts of air to quite a large percentage of patients, (by gross, I mean large boluses of air that can be seen with the naked eye).
Some of Mike's suggestions might have made sense...IF we were dealing with REAL perfusionists, rather than metal fabricators and golf pros. However, to expect a layman to sit down with an industrial-grade occlusive pump and a small-volume, closed (bag) reservoir, and perfuse a human body without causing serious, and probably irreversible, damage is BEYOND naive, in my opinion, and to use advanced topics, (like air-fluid interfaces leading to micro-air embolization), to argue for such choices is misguided. The issue of micro-air embolization has yet to be resolved by the world's leading experts, in conventional medicine, so why is it even discussed in an arena where they've yet to eliminate the routine macro-air embolization of patients, and very few people are even capable of carrying on an informed discussion?
I often feel most of Mike's discussions are way over the heads of the people who are attempting to perform cryonics procedures, and therefore, serve little purpose. Based on his comments regarding medical professionals, I get this rather creepy feeling he thinks he could teach everyone in cryonics how to perform the necessary medical procedures, if they would just listen to him and follow his direction. (He may not feel that way, at all, that's just an impression I get from him. It may be that he's just frustrated, like me.) I, on the other hand, think the organizations should just oust everyone who doesn't have a clue what they are doing, and hire some professionals. There's this difference between "academics" and "clinicians," I've seen it, many times, at perfusion conferences. Though I know Mike has some clinical experience, he comes across as more of an "academic," to me, and that may be the fundamental difference between the two of us. Now, I know I've probably upset at least one close friend of mine, in cryonics, who considers Mike to be something of a demi-god, so I'll let it go, at that.
This message has been edited by melmax on Feb 2, 2009 1:40 PM