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Maintaining death-state IS a problem for cryonics...

October 29 2009 at 8:06 AM
Philo  (Login cryonics)
Probationary User

Response to I'm wrong-- my bracelet says if I'm dead, continue CPR and cool me and inject me with...

Charles Platt's Alcor Forum publication, #1, November 2001. P. 5.

"A bolus (single large dose) of potassium chloride is also administered to electrochemically prevent the heart from restarting so that "legal death" is maintained. Despite continued cardica arrest, breathing and circulation can be restored almost fully. The brain is therefore resuscitated, and anesthetic drugs are necessary to ensure that the "legally dead" patient remains unconcious".

I don't like the sounds of this. Does the reader? It's actually rather alarming. It seems to me we're on very thin ice here. Am I the only one reading danger into this?

Brian Wowk wrote...

The reality is that 90% of people die under circumstances in which they could be revived.

Terminal patients in hospitals and hospices are routinely deprived of nutritional and fluid support, and given "no code" status, which means that no attempts will be made to restart their heart when it stops. Even non-terminal patients (such as accident victims)could be resuscitated with emergency heart-lung bypass if their hearts cannot be restarted. But this just isn't done.

Let's say for the sake of argument that we take everyone who is dying and do everything possible to keep them alive. We'll give them I.V. support, parenteral nutrition, advanced cardiac life support protocols when their heart stops, and even heart-lung machine support to keep them alive when their heart stops. The result would be that intensive care units would be transformed into torture chambers in which everyone could enjoy a horrible, agonizing months-long death that would cost approximately $1 million a person. At the end there would be little brain left to preserve because of horrible sepsis and cerebrovascular pathology. The defining event for death would presumably become "brain death" (i.e. a completely fried brain) as it is for organ donors. Is this what you really want?

Cryonicists didn't invent the legal system, health care system, or ways that people die. These simply constitute the environment in which we must operate.

By the way, if you want to change the legal system so that only patients who are really dead can be frozen, move to France. The French government made such a change to thwart cryonicists a couple of decades ago, and now there isn't a cryonicist in France who wouldn't love to trade places with you in the U.S.

My comment-- so how do we die? And how do cryonicists die? If I'm "pronounced" dead, and COULD be revived-- wouldn't I INDEED want to be revived even if it entailed lots of equipment? I would think so. The UNWILLINGNESS of the medical system to keep me alive-- is the problem it now appears to me.

Wowk says its costly... but maybe it's not that bad. Maybe we could have giant hospitals where thousands are kept on life support... with a few minutes of consciousness a day... which is better than nothing. A high productivity society wouldn't have any problem with that. The problem we have today... is not high cost of life support but low productivity.

Platt points to heart-stopping drugs and anesthetic so concioussness is intentionally suppressed. It sounds like cryonics "kills" you-- at least to me. I haven't thought this through after a few decades of being signed up. Signing up for cryonics might be submitting yourself to heart-stoppers and anesthetic. Maybe I don't want that. Maybe I'm on the wrong path altogether here... with cryonics. Maybe I've made an awful mistake. Maybe I'm actually interested in those giant hospital warehouses that keep me alive, no matter what, that Wowk ridicules.

Hmmmm.... food for thought.

[Wowk's point was that, for chronic cases of fatal or profoundly debilitating conditions, current technology can only delay the inevitable so long, allowing you to languish there for months only to die anyway. I don't think he's talking about cases where life support or CPR could lead to recovery. At any rate, it's possible that a living will or medical surrogate could specify the circumstances in which a patient would like cryonics procedures to begin. -CFMod]

This message has been edited by CF_Moderator on Oct 29, 2009 8:31 AM

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