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Melody

June 24 2010 at 10:06 PM
  (Login R_Ettinger)
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I remain somewhat puzzled by some of Melody Maxim's postings.

Let me say first that, in denouncing some aspects of cryonics organizations' histories and practices, she has generally not specifically included Cryonics Institute as a culprit, although she has broadly indicted cryonics leadership and practices for the last 40 years, seemingly including CI's.

As one aspect of this, I remind readers that while CI suspensions have been performed by people lacking formal medical credentials, these people have had a great deal of relevant experience. At present they include Andy Zawacki, mortician Jim Walsh and his daughter (also a licensed mortician), and Ben Best with a long history of studies and involvement in cryonics and a pharmacist background. Previously they included cryobiologist Yuri Pichugin, with a history of animal studies such as freezing sheep heads and testing vitrification solutions on rat brains. Their pay has been very moderate.

I won't try to defend my own involvement. Of course I was the wrong person to lead the cryonics movement, but nobody better qualified came forward for many years, and nobody clearly well qualified and prestigious has tried to assume leadership in recent years either. I did the best I knew how, and nobody has accused me of anything unethical as far as I know. My approach has always had the focus on common sense, which I believe is shared by CI's current Directors.

Melody has been generous and helpful in looking at CI procedures and making suggestions. This is worth a lot, but it isn't a blank check.

One major fault I find with much of Melody's writing is her insistence that physicians, perfusionists, and other medical professionals would support cryonics if only the organizations would take a professional approach. She appears implicitly to deny that there is pervasive indifference or hostility to cryonics among medical professionals. It seems plain as day to me that, if medicos generally were open to cryonics, some of them would have long since raised the banner and contributed to the movement in some active way. Aftr all, their own butts are on the line too, and their families'. I don't think any amount of rationalization can excuse this. (Naturally there will occasionally be an exception, but as far as I can tell they have been few and far between.)

The other major fault is the impression she often leaves that she doesn't really care whether cryonics grows or implodes, and if the lattr it is somehow deserved. I do wish that, if her ultimate intention is to help cryonics, she would find a better way to do it.

Robert Ettinger

 
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AuthorReply

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Some excellent points

June 25 2010, 10:55 AM 

I have also been, at times, concerned about some of the issues raised in your post, Mr. Ettinger. I look forward to seeing Melody's reply.

 
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(Login melmax)
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Re: Melody

June 25 2010, 11:25 AM 

First, I want to say I am happy to see Mr. Ettinger posting, and I hope he has fully recovered from his accident, which I read about in "Long Life." I admire Mr. Ettinger, very much, and it pains me, somewhat, to disagree with him...but the fact remains that I do.

I don't include CI as a "culprit," in my criticisms, because I think of CI as an "innocent bystander," of sorts. I don't see CI spending a bundle of money, each year, on questionable projects, which get described as "research," or "R&D," but are really foolishness which keeps putting a lot of money in the same pockets, year-after-year, while resulting in little-to-no progress. I don't know how to resolve the problem of including CI in my broad statements, regarding the lack of progress, and to be honest, I have some questions regarding their current leadership, which seems to have a tendency to support those I believe behave unethically. I agree that CI has people with a good degree of relevant experience, and they seem to have been responsible with their research and finances.

Contrary to Mr. Ettinger, I do believe many qualified medical professionals would be happy to work in cryonics, if it were not for a large degree of corruption, at organizations, (other than CI), which have the funding to support qualified persons. No one can expect members of the medical community to read about cryonics, on the Internet, and say, "HEY...now THAT's something I would want to be involved in!" given the history, or for people like me to suggest my professional friends seek out employment, in cryonics, given my own experience. I am a medical professional who worked in cryonics, and if the situation would have been different, I believe I would have been able to bring in fellow professionals, and SA had a payroll more than generous enough to support such people. Instead, I wasted five months of my life, fighting for even the smallest needed changes in equipment, which would have been obvious to anyone familiar with conventional hypothermic arrest procedures, (and probably to anyone with common sense, who was not being paid to build the existing equipment). The resistance to change was not reasonable, or rational, on any level, and I think Mr. E. might be able to imagine the subversive manipulations, which ensued, when someone making a lot of money didn't want SA's projects, or personnel, questioned. For so long as a small group of people, with control of a large amount of funding are in positions of influence, I believe the few medical professionals who do cross paths with cryonics will have the limited choices of being corrupted themselves, or being run off.

As for finding a better way to help cryonics, I've come to the conclusion that the best hope is probably regulation. I don't see any other way to get rid of the negative influence, which I believe prevents medical professionals who would want to contribute, and cannot be corrupted (into "rubber-stamping" projects they know are foolish and unproductive), from being welcomed into well-funded organizations. I firmly believe that, had I been willing to endorse projects I knew (based on my professional experience with related procedures and equipment) were insane wastes of time and money, I could still be sitting at a desk at SA, and getting paid quite handsomely for simply agreeing with "the powers that be," (even when I knew them to be wrong). Unfortunately, that's not my dream job...I'd rather actually accomplish something.

 
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Luke Parrish
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"the best hope is probably regulation"

June 25 2010, 12:51 PM 

Why is regulation a better solution than, say, competition?

 
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Regulation vs. Competition

June 26 2010, 8:08 AM 

Luke writes: "Why is regulation a better solution than, say, competition?"

For the sake of argument, let's just say it would cost one million a year, to compete with the existing combined services of Alcor and Suspended Animation...

How many investors does Luke know, who would be willing to put that kind of money into a business, which would probably have little-to-no return, for many years? How many people would be willing to invest that kind of money, in cryonics, at all, given the scandalous history? It's going to be difficult to market cryonics, given all the past bad behaviors of a handful of people, who have largely controlled the well-funded organizations. They've made sure, (whether intentionally, or not), that there is unlikely to be any competition. I think most investors would laugh at the notion of investing in cryonics. (As I recall, in years past, Platt and Pizer were unable to convince Mr. Laughlin to start a new organization, and he is known to have a strong, personal interest in cryonics.)

Cryonics isn't an investment; at this point in time, it's more like a charity. There are only two people proven to be willing to donate that kind of money. The only way to get them to change things is either to convince them they need new leadership, or to regulate their efforts.

 
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Luke Parrish
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Regulating charity

June 27 2010, 6:53 PM 

So there are only two people who will donate, and you want to reward them for that by regulating their efforts?

 
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(Login melmax)
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If...

June 27 2010, 11:36 PM 

...they are going to misrepresent their services to the public, and attempt to charge a bundle for them...yes, I do. What they are doing seems more like a potential scam, than "charity."

 
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Luke Parrish
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Sounds like...

June 28 2010, 12:37 AM 

Kind of a weird sort of scam if they don't make money from it somehow.

 
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I agree with Luke

June 29 2010, 4:10 PM 

The idea that it is some sort of scam really doesn't hold up to much scrutiny when you look at the return on investment. I think when you referred to it as a charity case in your "Regulation vs. Competition" post, Melody, you were much closer to the truth. Of course, I'm not suggesting that the motives involved are necessarily altruistic. I'm sure they receive some sort of benefit. Perhaps they feel that it increases their own chances of survival.

 
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Finance Department
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I think she answered this

June 30 2010, 12:42 AM 

In her post to CryoNet #32611 a couple of weeks back, her "bottom line" was: "Unless cryonicists want another 40 years of little progress, and lots of scandal, some of the faces need to change, starting at the top. It doesn't matter how much money any given benefactor pours in. Unless it is funding progress, that money is of no benefit to anyone, other than those on the payroll."

The last 6 words address your concern. The payroll is substantial, considering that only one employee at SA is a known cryonicist, and only 3 or 4 at Alcor are. The rest are those who only serve for the paycheck. To CI's credit, both employees that we know of are obviously cryonicists.

Personally, I'd feel better about cryonics if every employee working for a cryo org were signed up, unlike me who thinks about getting so some day, and wonders at this time what the point would be.

I agree with MM, that faces at the top should change. She seems to think from the above that money should fund progress and that those now at "the top" who do funding, are not doing so. I'm pessimistic that any dirty tricks such as non-stacks of letters or phone calls are going to get those at the current "top" to resign (much less to get the good 'ol boy Alcor Board to get voted in or out).

I therefore challenge MM or anyone else who can come up with and fund a better cryo org than those currently in existence, to do so. Their money is as green ...

Oh, and any such persons could then become the current "TOP". Would any such "big pockets" then permit themselves to be voted in or out?

Cheers,

FD

 
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Luke Parrish
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Some ideas

June 28 2010, 8:39 PM 

Getting investors on board is a matter of demonstrating that it can make money. Granted, cryonics has been historically bad at this, but the demographic landscape is changing. There are a huge number of IT professionals who are both open-minded about transhumanism and fairly wealthy.

Perhaps a strategy that would be more effective than selling to individuals directly would be to convince employers to offer cryonics benefits alongside other health benefits, to keep their workers and attract top talent.

If you had several thousand patients lined up, the costs would be far less per person than in small numbers.

Ideally, cryo benefits could take the form of a transferable, renewable credit that they can apply to a family member who needs it. Thus it would be valuable for young people as a means of taking care of parents or grandparents who are willing but do not have the motivation or resources to get themselves preserved.

 
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TWrelated
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Hey, how about

June 28 2010, 10:41 PM 

offering a professional, high-tech medical solution comparable to the fees charged, as advertised, that the average consumer could get behind and believe in?

Honestly, there's nothing wrong with the concept of cryonics, but the practitioners seemed to have soured the image for the average Joe. But maybe the average Joe isn't the target market anyway...

Seems it takes someone with alot of money, alot of hope and not too high of standards.

 
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Luke Parrish
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Target market

June 29 2010, 1:07 AM 

Regarding your assessment of the target market:

1. A lot of money: Any middle class american who is young and healthy can easily afford it through life insurance.
2. A lot of hope: You can have extreme doubts about it working and still determine that it is in your rational self interest, or a positive social signal, to at least make an attempt.
3. Not too high of standards: The information preservation standard for cryonics is higher than funeral service, even in the worst of cases. Really, "do nothing" is not that hard to beat. If you want competition it has to be between cryonics approaches, not versus the status quo which is pretty much "lie down and die when your time comes".

Your vision of "professional, high tech medical solution, comparable to fees charged" is laudable, as are all such noble aspirations. But in the ridiculously low quantities that cryonics is selling in, I don't see it happening. Right now we are slaves to supply and demand, and the the diseconomies inherent in doing something big on a small scale.

I really do want to see a competitive, well-oiled machine for making sure all patients get the absolute best of care, by empirically backed standards, with lots of transparency and professionalism. But in order for that to happen, it seems to me more people need to get over their fear of the unknown and commit to cryonics in the first place.

You confess the idea itself isn't so bad. But you haven't actually committed to it yourself, not even contingent on it being improved to some specified or unspecified standard.

So here's my question for you. Will you endorse cryonics wholeheartedly if it meets some particular level of excellence in patient care? Is there some (presumably higher) level of care at which you would venture to sign up yourself?

 
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Placing the Cart Before the Horse

June 29 2010, 8:05 AM 

Luke to TWrelated: "But in the ridiculously low quantities that cryonics is selling in, I don't see it happening. Right now we are slaves to supply and demand, and the the diseconomies inherent in doing something big on a small scale."

Does it occur to Luke that the demand might not be "ridiculously low," if there had not been so much incompetence, and unethical and unprofessional activities, associated with cryonics? Anyone who googles "cryonics" is going to subjected to some really disturbing history.


Luke:..."it seems to me more people need to get over their fear of the unknown and commit to cryonics in the first place."

I don't think it's "fear of the unknown" that prevents more people from signing up for cryonics. In fact, I think it's quite the opposite. Most people who hear about cryonics and become interested enough to do any research, are most likely to go away laughing, or appalled.


Luke: "So here's my question for you. Will you endorse cryonics wholeheartedly if it meets some particular level of excellence in patient care? Is there some (presumably higher) level of care at which you would venture to sign up yourself?"

I know that question was meant for TWrelated, but in case Luke might interested, my answer to that question would be "yes."

 
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TWrelated
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Endorsing cryonics

June 29 2010, 10:55 AM 

Yes, I wholeheartedly endorse cryonics as a concept. When I first read about it as a kid I thought it was pretty exciting.

No, I can't endorse cryonics as a practice, from what I've read and experienced. The providers need to be much more honest and open in their dealings.

I don't think the level of excellence should be any less than a living person receives, given the costs and the promises.

People like Melody have stated true professionals could perform these preservations at the same cost as the untrained people performing them now.

I'm not sure a layman that has performed a complicated medical procedure a number of times can really be called an "expert", given that the not even qualified to know if they're doing it right...

Going at it with the attitude of, "oh, it doesn't matter if we mess it up, because science in the future will be able to correct it all" is the proper approach.

Those are just a few of the things that make it feel like a scam more than an afterlife.

No, I won't sign up myself...

And honestly, my endorsement one way or another is pretty meaningless.

 
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(Login jordansparks)
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Re: Endorsing cryonics

June 29 2010, 1:48 PM 

You say, "People like Melody have stated true professionals could perform these preservations"

That is Melody's opinion. I and many others feel that Melody is wrong about this claim. I'm not going to rehash all the old tired arguments, but I'll quickly put a new spin on it. It's a numbers game. We have maybe 2000 people in the entire world who accept the arguments in support of cryonics (cryonicists). Maybe 1/10 of those care enough to actually get involved in providing care, so 200 people are possibly available. Now even though the ratio of people with advanced degrees is much higher in cryonics than the general population, it is still unlikely that there will be enough medical professionals in those 200 people to fill the need. Based on the ratio of perfusionists to the general population, it is very unlikely that a perfusionist would also be a cryonicist.

So all I can suppose is that Melody is suggesting using medical professionals who do not accept the argument for cryonics. That's a very foolish proposition. People going through the motions without acceptance of the goal?? Seriously?? Any scientist will clearly recognize that as a recipe for disaster. In spite of how foolish it may be, we have tried it repeatedly. It has failed repeatedly. Don't start in with but-ifs. The whole idea of even trying is foolish. Zip it with the but-ifs. I don't even want to hear it.

 
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That's Funny

June 29 2010, 3:03 PM 

Sparks: "That's a very foolish proposition. People going through the motions without acceptance of the goal?? Seriously?? Any scientist will clearly recognize that as a recipe for disaster."

Sparks apparently doesn't realize he just described a number of my former co-workers at SA, who were laymen who couldn't have cared less about cryonics, other than their paychecks. In fact, at least one person, who openly made fun of cryonics activities, was being paid $77K a year, plus some very generous benefits.

I don't know what "we" Sparks is referring to, with his remarks regarding "having tried it repeatedly and failed," but if the experience I had, at SA, reflects the way medical professionals have been treated, in cryonics, in the past, it's no wonder that hasn't worked out for anyone. I was brought to SA to be Platt's cheerleader, nothing more. When I didn't cooperate and rubber-stamp his very costly, and mostly ridiculous, projects, all hell broke loose. It was a joke.

Sparks simply doesn't want to hear anything that shines light on the reality.

 
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But if...

June 29 2010, 7:36 PM 

But if they had just treated me better...

 
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Sparks wants to make this personal...

June 30 2010, 8:55 AM 

...but it's not. Sparks and I do not know one another, and he doesn't know anything about what went on at SA, when I was working there. He made his ignorance obvious in several comments, the most glaring being those that derided non-cryonicists working at cryonics organizations. If the policy at SA had been that all employees must be cryonicists, the manager would have had to fire everyone, (including himself, at the time), except Aschwin and Mathew, because they were the only two cryonicists, out of eight employees. (Note: As an SA employee, I was encouraged to sign up, to impress Saul Kent, whether I really wanted to be cryopreserved, or not.)

Four people at that company, (non-cryonicists, non-medical professionals), did whatever they were told, for the most part. They didn't know to question the policies, procedures, or equipment, (because they didn't know anything about existing hypothermic procedures), and they couldn't have cared less about cryonics. The two cryonicists agreed with me that most of the company's time and money was being directed toward some ridiculous projects. When the civil war broke out, they told me they would quit, if I was to be fired, and one of them left not long after I resigned, because he found the situation as unbearable and unproductive, as I.

Sparks wants to pretend like my comments regarding the treatment of medical professionals was some sort of "poor me" scenario, but that's not the case. If anyone was subjected to abuse, at SA, it was the two cryonicists, who were working there. The manager of SA frequently referred to them as "narcissistic morons," and our "token cryonicists," and he frequently enlisted the help of others, in attempts to get at least one of them fired. He sent them really disturbing, abusive emails, to the point that one of them complained to Mr. Kent.

Sparks wants to pretend he is part of the "we" that has hired medical professionals, in cryonics, in the past, (claiming it never worked out), but I don't believe he has ever been a part of the "we" that has hired medical professionals to work in cryonics. He may envision himself as one of the big fishies in the small sea of cryonics, but I don't think most people would agree with his self assessment. As far as I know, he has no influence at cryonics organizations, such as Alcor and SA, which have the financial ability to hire medical professionals.

Sparks primary responses to my criticisms have been personal attacks, and it's rather clear he doesn't have a clue as to what went on at SA, while I was there. I strongly suspect he has been subjected to some of the same lies Steve Harris was told. Regardless, I think his mud-slinging at a medical professional he doesn't know, based on events he has no firsthand knowledge of, casts a bad light on Cryonics Institute, where he is a director.

 
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Finance Department
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More melmax Insults

July 1 2010, 12:05 AM 

http://www.network54.com/Forum/291677/message/1277751409/Insulting

I'd say "Mr Sparks" would be more respectful, though inaccurate, than just "Sparks". Perhaps she can be excused since July 4 is upcoming in the US.

Or does she not think that dentists are medical professionals?

So it goes,

FD

 
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Dentists are people, too...

July 1 2010, 7:38 AM 

...and some people don't deserve respect.

I am not going to refer to Sparks as "Dr." because I don't want newcomers to think he is qualified to perform medical procedures other than those related to dentistry, and he seems to have been offended by me calling him "Mr," so I'll just stick with "Sparks."

 
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Finance Department
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Dr Sparks is obviously offended

July 2 2010, 1:55 AM 

Is it any wonder he has stopped talking to you? Give us a break.

And this leaves me wondering why you think one type of medical professional deserves the title "Doctor" (whether earned academically or not, apparently), and another one doesn't.

And so we wonder why someone with a doctorate who specialized, in say, cardiology, or internal medicine, or even mere family medicine, is more deserved to be called "Dr." than, say, someone who stayed in academics or research (such as Dr. Stodolsky or Dr. Wowk). And there are other folks with doctorates, such as dentists and chiropractors. Varying levels of education and such, but, nonetheless, Doctors. Did I forget the podiatrists and the N.D.'s GRIN

As to being qualified to perform cryonics procedures, I'd take a Ph.D or even an ordinary M.D. any time, if they have cryonics insight and experience, over whomever you think is more qualified. Who is that, anyway? Heck, maybe even a DDS?! It can't be you, with only a BS degree and an expired Perfusionist certificate.

Alas,

FD

 
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I'm not offended

July 2 2010, 2:15 PM 

I'm not offended. I was only pointing out that she was insulting me. I did not reply further because I have nothing more to say. I am fully aware that the title "Doctor" is more applicable to physicians than to anyone else. But someone who has worked in a medical setting simply wouldn't forget the title. Not even if it was for a chiropractor or a veterinarian.

 
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I'm glad Sparks was not offended...

July 2 2010, 3:37 PM 

...but he's still wrong about my intentions. He writes: "But someone who has worked in a medical setting simply wouldn't forget the title. Not even if it was for a chiropractor or a veterinarian."

It's not that I forgot the title applies to a dentist, it's that I forgot Jordan Sparks IS a dentist! I don't know him, I've never met him, I don't live anywhere close to where he practices, and I wasn't thinking about his occupation when I wrote the post that offended him. Unlike Sparks' past interest in my personal life, I have never had any interest in his life, (past, or present), other than his activities related to cryonics. I really can't imagine why he thinks I would have any cause to remember he is a dentist. Unless he is posting, or someone mentions him to me, I forget he exists. Again, my use of "Mr." was not meant as an insult, and if Jordan Sparks really knew me at all, he would know that. (I think most of the people on the forum know that, if my intention had been to insult Sparks, I would not have denied it.)

Going off, on a literary tangent: (This reminds me of a line in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead." Ellsworth Toohey asks Howard Roark to tell him what he really thinks of him, and Howard Roark replies, "But I don't think of you.

 
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Luke Parrish
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Just curious...

July 2 2010, 3:46 PM 

... who do you think of?

Aside from yourself, of course. wink.gif

 
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That's Easy

July 2 2010, 4:10 PM 

The people being asked to pay $60K - $150K (even if it is insurance money) for cryonics services, when I believe the quality of those services are being grossly misrepresented.

The people who might be the recipient of better cryonics services, if it were not for a handful of incompetent, greedy, dishonest opportunists.

 
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TWrelated
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Here's the rub:

June 29 2010, 4:40 PM 

Anyone that's part of the inner circle of cryonics presents it as all sunshine and roses. Some others, with professional medical experience, who have had a chance to see cryonics from the inside paint it very differently.

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between.

One basic human trait is people like to work. If someone has an expertise, say from medical training, they'll probably take any job that allows them to exercise their expertise and be paid appropriately for it. I don't imagine that have to believe in cryonics to perform to the best of their abilities. And it sounds like working in cryonics is a pretty cush job, compared to a hospital emergency room.

But Melody has stated, when she was involved in cryonics her expertise was not accepted by the non-medical people involved.

It seems, if medical professionals are turned off to the idea of working in cryonics, it may be the cryonics enviroments causing it, not the concept of cryonics.

People work all kinds of places that may not be their ideal job if it pays right and they're treated fairly.

For the people being preserved with the belief they'll come back to life one day; why should they expect any less expert care than if they were living, especially considering the price being paid and the promises being made?

 
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Luke Parrish
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"No, I won't sign up myself..."

June 30 2010, 2:24 PM 

The opinions of actual potential customers are way more important from a business perspective, just as affected people's opinions are more important from an ethical perspective. If there's no possible standard of care that would ever convince you to sign up, your objections are entirely on behalf of potential and current customers rather than yourself.

I certainly agree that the highest standards are desirable. I do not agree that regulation is the only way to get them.

 
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Finance Department
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There's always "heaven"

July 1 2010, 12:08 AM 

Which is "hell" without the heat, where one sits on a cloud all day and takes harp lessons and practices endlessly, interspersed presumably with utterances such as "Praise God" and "Thank you Jesus". Hell we guess is for those who refuse to do so.

No pianos in heaven. R*ck will hafta learn de harp. Such celestial misery.

But then TWr might be obliged to become R*ck's student. So sorry!

Get a harp,

FD

(for some who lack discernment, this was mainly a humour post)

 
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Welcome to hell

July 1 2010, 4:14 AM 

[linked image]

 
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TWrelated
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Or some other form of an afterlife

July 1 2010, 10:32 AM 

as commonly believed by millions...

 
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Luke Parrish
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Not to diss millions of people...

July 1 2010, 12:29 PM 

But given the fact that several sets of millions believe fundamentally different things about the afterlife, it is inevitable that most of them are wrong.

Unlike all of them, cryonics has at least some empirical support.

 
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It's not about regulations

June 26 2010, 1:42 PM 

If regulations were imposed by some government, it is very unlikely that the regulations would require cryonics organizations to behave in a manner that is anything close to what Melody wants. Pay scales would absolutely not be regulated, nor would decisions regarding equipment. Qualifications of a few key personnel might be regulated, but certainly not to the extent that a perfusionist would be required. Regulations would not change the nature of expenditures on research. Much of the behavior that she keeps calling "unethical" is simply ordinary strategic business decisions that are outside the scope of regulations.

A few things that might be regulated:
- Money to be put in a trust for ongoing care (a legitimate need, although it has not been a problem for decades)
- Addressing cryonics one way or the other in the UAGA.
- Inspection of facilities as is currently done with funeral homes.
- Allowing cryonics as a means of final disposition.
- Restricting claims of revival.
- Qualifications of person performing procedures

It's the last item that seems to interest Melody the most. But that's also the hardest topic to regulate and the one mostly likely to cause harm. For example, let's say the new regulations allow only MDs, perfusionists, nurses, embalmers, paramedics, or similar to perform procedures. That immediately excludes the true experts such as Ben, Andy, Hugh, various PhDs, etc. Why does she think an embalmer with a TWO YEAR degree in mostly unrelated topics and no training in physiology at all is even remotely qualified?

Melody's posts are not about regulations for the good of individuals or society. That is clear from the discussion above. Regulations would not address her concerns. In all of her posts, her recurring theme is that other people are not acting the way she thinks they ought to act. Paul seems to feel that her posts have changed other people's behavior. I think that you can't change other people's behavior. Hopefully, Melody will eventually realize that she's banging her head against a wall that will not move. Of course, I can't make her stop banging her head on that wall. I can't make anyone do anything.

 
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Inaccurate Statements

June 26 2010, 6:31 PM 

Jordan Sparks: "Much of the behavior that she keeps calling "unethical" is simply ordinary strategic business decisions that are outside the scope of regulations."

I believe that is a fairly inaccurate assessment of the situation.


Jordan Sparks: "For example, let's say the new regulations allow only MDs, perfusionists, nurses, embalmers, paramedics, or similar to perform procedures. That immediately excludes the true experts such as Ben, Andy, Hugh, various PhDs, etc."

Ben, Andy, Hugh and "various PhDs" are "true experts" in performing the tasks of advanced-level paramedics, vascular surgeons and perfusionists? Really?? I don't think so.

 
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(Login jordansparks)
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Public perception

June 27 2010, 9:51 AM 

My statements were not inaccurate. My opinion simply differs from your opinion.

Try for a moment to think like a member of the general public or the people who are writing the regulations. As far as they are concerned, they are talking about corpses. Yes, compared to an embalmer, the people I listed are the true experts. Not just from my point of view, but from the point of view of the regulators as well.

And also, thinking like a member of the general public, it is not unethical to "keep someone dead" who has already been pronounced dead. It is not unethical for a welder to dress up in scrubs in order to help move a corpse. It is not unethical to use drugs on a dead person. I'm just saying that your definition of unethical is way out of kilter with the rest of society. Society doesn't consider cryonics to be a medical procedure, so you can't use medical criteria when doling out your judgements of unethical behavior. Before you object that various cryonics organizations claim that it's a medical procedure, let me remind you that we are stuck using the language available to us. Cryonics IS medical in the sense that we are saving someone's life. Cryonics is NOT medical in the sense that we do not care about cell viability. It is NOT medical in the sense that the only goal is preservation of structure.

The goal of preservation of structure rather than cell viability pushes cryonics into "research". Medical research is performed on corpses and human tissue all the time. It does not require a special license. For example, let's say that cryonics started using gluteraldehyde as the first "medication" on someone who had just died. Many cryonicists have proposed doing exactly that. Would you still claim that medical professionals were the best qualified at that point? I would rather have an engineer (Hugh), a chemist (Ben), someone with years of experience (Andy), and various PhDs working on me. A "medical professional" who was not a cryonicist would be a terrible choice. Like you, they would keep getting confused about the actual goal of the procedures.

 
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(Login melmax)
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More Misrepresentations from Sparks

June 27 2010, 2:14 PM 

Jordan Sparks: "Yes, compared to an embalmer, the people I listed are the true experts. Not just from my point of view, but from the point of view of the regulators as well."

Is it not true that CI, being regulated as a cemetery, must make use of a licensed embalmer? I believe Mr. Sparks to be incorrect, since the point of view of the regulators seems to disagree with his.

As for the "expert" status of the people Mr. Sparks named...
For many years, two of those people thought they were delivering CI's vitrification solutions at pressures in the neighborhood of approximately 100mmHg. In December 2007, a qualified perfusionist walked into the CI facility, and immediately recognized that most of the pressure they had been recording as "patient pressure" could be attributed to the small-lumen cannulae. In other words, their patient pressures had probably been closer to 20mmHg, than 100mmHg, for many years, and would probably STILL be, if I had not explained, to them, what was happening. This description of that situation is not meant to disparage Ben, or Andy; it is meant to explain why people in positions of power, in cryonics, (such as Mr. Sparks, who is on the Board of Directors, at CI), should not be allowed to overlook the necessity of qualified, competent professionals. While Andy does an excellent job, with what he has to work with, he would be the FIRST person to tell anyone that he is not an expert, when it comes to the medical procedures, which are needed in cryonics.

I assume many "cryonics experts" visited CI, prior to my visit, just two-and-a-half-years ago, yet in all those years, not one "cryonics expert" recognized a perfusion-related problem, which would have been glaringly obvious to ANY qualified perfusionist. When I made that same observation on this forum, before, Mike Darwin showed up, appearing very insulted, and claiming he had previously informed Ben about the pressure issue. I have an extremely difficult time believing that is true, because I saw the look on Ben's face, when I told him the "patient pressures" he had been recording were but a small fraction of the true patient pressures. I think he was rather upset, and that if anyone had made the problem clear to him, before, he would have certainly corrected the problem at that time. Neither Ben, or Andy, would have forgotten being made aware of such a serious issue, and continued making the same mistake.

Jordan Sparks: "And also, thinking like a member of the general public, it is not unethical to "keep someone dead" who has already been pronounced dead."

I agree with that statement, and, (as to be expected from Mr. Sparks), my viewpoint is being misrepresented. I believe it is unethical for a physician to place dangerous drugs in the hands of laymen he knows nothing about. This is even more offensive, when the dose being prescribed isn't enough to accomplish the stated purpose. I also believe it unethical to engage in illegal euthanasia, though the same MD who will not hesitate to place propofol in the hands of laypersons unknown to him, did not hesitate to publicly recommend, (to both SA and Alcor), a policy which seemed to be a fairly clear description of euthanasia. It's foolishness, such as that, which will result in the banning of cryonics.

Jordan Sparks: "Cryonics is NOT medical in the sense that we do not care about cell viability. It is NOT medical in the sense that the only goal is preservation of structure."

I could have a "field day," with those two comments, but I don't have that kind of time to waste. Don't talk to me, about the "preservation of structure," when I know of cryo-suspendees, including stroke victims, who have been subjected to inappropriate pressures at the hands of laymen attempting to perform perfusion procedures. One sure way to cause a lot of structural damage is via the improper handling of a perfusion circuit.

Jordan Sparks (to me): "Like you, they would keep getting confused about the actual goal of the procedures."

The goal of the procedures, as I understand it, is to give someone the BEST possible opportunity of being revived in the future, so why Mr. Sparks and some of his friends seem so hell-bent against that remains a mystery, to me. (Actually, it's not a complete mystery...I believe it has something to do with a lot of over-inflated salaries and self-inflated egos.) While cures for the diseases, which caused the deaths of those who have been cryo-preserved may be in the foreseeable future, I doubt the damage being inflicted during most, (if not all), cryonics procedures will be so easy to repair. In fact, I seriously doubt it will be able to be repaired, at all. As I wrote, on Cryonet:

"...a company trying to suspend people for decades, or centuries, should certainly be capable of performing hypothermic procedures, which were perfected decades ago, should they not? Yet, what would happen, if we were to substitute Alcor and/or SA staff members and equipment for what would normally be found in open-heart procedures? Would approximately 96% of their patients survive, as in conventional medicine? Given what I've seen, my bet would be 100% would die. It's absurd to think people who can't even begin to match given technology, which has existed for decades, can surpass it."

 
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Luke Parrish
(Login lsparrish)
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Structure

June 27 2010, 6:47 PM 

Don't talk to me, about the "preservation of structure," when I know of cryo-suspendees, including stroke victims, who have been subjected to inappropriate pressures at the hands of laymen attempting to perform perfusion procedures. One sure way to cause a lot of structural damage is via the improper handling of a perfusion circuit.

Do you mean specifically that this tears up neurons?

 
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(Login AndyZawacki)
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Patient pressures

June 27 2010, 7:53 PM 

Melody was the first and only person to point out to me the issue of reduced patient pressure because of the canulas we were using. I welcome Melody's advice since she is the only person that I know of who actually worked as a perfusionist in a hospital and I appreciate her sharing her knowledge with us. Melody is to be credited for the improvements that CI has made to its perfusion system over the last couple years.

Andy Zawacki

 
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Mathew Sullivan
(Login MathewSullivan)
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Re: Patient pressures

June 28 2010, 7:19 PM 

Pressure losses can be readily determined by checking the product literature, as can seen here:http://www.medtronic.com/cardsurgery/arrested_heart/downloads/DLP_Cannulae.pdf If there is any difficulty finding literature online for the style of cannulae that one has in stock, a local Rep should be able to email a pdf.

 
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(Login melmax)
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Mathew is Missing the Point

June 28 2010, 8:26 PM 

Ben and Andy were made aware of the catalog, and charts, Mathew is referring to, during my visits to CI. (In fact, I've printed those charts out for both SA and CI, in the past, and I'm pretty sure Ben has ordered from the Medtronic catalog.)

Mathew's post makes me wonder if he is familiar with the (embalming) cannulae CI was using at the time I raised the pressure drop issue. Regardless, the point was, people being called "true experts" were totally unaware a pressure drop existed, across the cannulae, until a perfusionist told them. This is not meant as an insult, toward Ben and Andy, but as one example (of many!) of how unrealistic it is to expect laymen to take the place of properly trained professionals, in performing medical procedures. Critical issues are going to go unrecognized.

 
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TWrelated
(Login TWrelated)
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Exactly!

June 28 2010, 10:30 PM 

Hard to know you're not doing something right if you don't know the right way to do something.

Melody, glad you're getting recognition for you efforts.

Its hard to imagine anyone who cares about what they're doing to want to continue to ignore expertise, guidance or regulation to require them to do it better.

 
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Mathew Sullivan
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Not in the slightest

June 28 2010, 11:17 PM 

From my personal vantage point, there have been discussions/debates about the value or interest in having a patient pressure compared to an arterial line pressure, since the beginning of my career. My only interest here in the post I made above was to fill in the gap for those who might stumble upon the discussion and found it incomplete. For example, if a new cryonics service provider such as KrioRus were reviewing this thread, they might find the details provided here of CONSTRUCTIVE VALUE. This is not to say they are not already familiar with the issue, but I believe there is value to all those who are paying attention to be able to have easy access to the details.

 
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(Login melmax)
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Mathew Makes a Point

June 29 2010, 7:49 AM 

Mathew: "From my personal vantage point, there have been discussions/debates about the value or interest in having a patient pressure compared to an arterial line pressure, since the beginning of my career."

That was an excellent point, but probably not in the way Mathew hoped it would be. At the time I was working at SA, Aschwin and I counted 19 people who were working full-time in cryonics, in the entire world, (eight of us being at SA). I doubt it's ever been much more than that, and a lot of the key players remain the same, over time. There are only a handful of people who are considered to be "cryonics experts," and these people communicate, extensively. So, if Mathew and his peers have been discussing this issue, for so many years, why were two members of his very small circle of peers totally unaware of it? (As I recall, SA was recording and reporting perfusion pressures, without distinguishing them from patient pressures, when I arrived on the scene.)

Mathew and his friends may have been debating this topic, for a decade, (or maybe several decades), but there's really nothing to debate. Anyone with a minimal knowledge of perfusion knows the value of a patient pressure compared to pressures taken off various components of the perfusion circuit, and this has been true for decades. Their ongoing debates are yet another symptom of a group of people who don't know enough to properly execute existing hypothermic procedures, much less surpass them.

(Note: What Mathew writes may be confusing to most people, since the term "arterial line pressure" most often refers to a patient pressure. Mathew was referring to a pressure line in the arterial side of a perfusion circuit, not a pressure line in a patient's artery.)

 
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(Login CF_Moderator)
Moderators

Is it really necessary...

June 29 2010, 2:29 PM 

... to reply as if Matthew's post was some sort of offense? I understand that you think it is unnecessary or pointless, but I'm sure there are people who would find it either informative or at least interesting. Let's not create a disincentive for sharing information and perspective.

 
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(Login jordansparks)
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Insulting

June 28 2010, 2:56 PM 

For newbies who may not be aware, Melody is intentionally insulting me by repeatedly referring to me as Mr. Sparks when she knows perfectly well (being a medical professional) that the appropriate title is either Dr. Sparks or Jordan.

 
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(Login melmax)
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Unintentional

June 28 2010, 6:15 PM 

I was not intentionally insulting Dr. Sparks. I know he may not believe me, but I really did forget he is a dentist. If he will look at my recent posts, (both here, and on Cryonet), he will see me "mistering" everyone, all over the place. (Ironically, I was trying my best to be more polite.) If I wanted to insult Dr. Sparks, I'm sure I could do better than calling him "Mr." (It's a joke, Sparks...lighten up and quit trying to make this personal.) Again, my use of the term "Mr." was not meant to be an insult. Normally, I would apologize, but not to someone who has responded to my criticisms of cryonics activities with personal attacks.

 
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(Login Paul_Michaels)

Not only but also

June 27 2010, 6:15 AM 

Jordan Sparks wrote in part:
"Paul seems to feel that her posts have changed other people's behavior."

Paul not only thinks so but also provided three relevant examples.

Does Jordan really think, for instance, that CI reverted to the old suspension methods after Melody showed an improved technique?

 
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Luke Parrish
(Login lsparrish)
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Melody's merits

June 30 2010, 8:14 PM 

Paul not only thinks so but also provided three relevant examples.

Does Jordan really think, for instance, that CI reverted to the old suspension methods after Melody showed an improved technique?


I see that particular change as completely unconnected to these long diatribes she goes into at the slightest provocation regarding professionalism, qualifications, overspending, etc.

The same goes for the help she provided to Alcor in finding out what had happened with their LLC. She did do a valuable service, but it was not criticism -- it was research.

As for SA, it does seem plausible that Melody is responsible. But it is also possible that she is not. Stepping up their training is something they might have done independently of Melody's criticisms, or in spite of them, for all I know. Correlation is not causation.

Melody has helped (for which I am grateful), but that does not make everything she says or does helpful.

 
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Finance Department
(Login Finance_Department)
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And demerits

July 1 2010, 12:07 AM 


 
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(Login AndyZawacki)
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Why does she think that embalmers are even remotely qualified?

June 27 2010, 7:31 PM 

Because, they are. Their schooling requires them to study and practice on actual human cadavers, not animals. They are trained to access and understand the human circulatory system. Once their education is complete they must past tests in order to get licensed to show that they are qualified to do what they have been trained to do. If your cat is sick and you want it diagnosed and treated, you use a veterinarian, because that is their area of expertise. If you want to access and canulate the arterial system of a recently deceased human, you use an embalmer, because that is their area of expertise. It only makes sense. Of course, a surgeon is also an expert in accessing the human arterial system.

CIs funeral director is a true expert when it comes to quickly accessing and canulating the arteries needed for human perfusion, not me or Ben. That is why we use him. Also, the state of Michigan requires that our perfusions be done in a licensed funeral home and we always follow those regulations.

Andy Zawacki




 
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Unperson
(no login)

Irony

June 26 2010, 6:08 PM 

If Maxim is so concerned about anonymity being removed, and a desire to make suggestions, then let's please have her name names. I propose she follows hervadvice and make specific reference to what " leaders" she means and which "people" she feels are not qualified. She does no good with anonymous references. Perhaps she mentions one person who she says is not a perfionist. But, what is " qualified"? If qualified means listed as a member of a perfusionist society, is she qualified?

Is she in a position to dole out advice. Heck, let's hear oe see her proposed regulations and not just presume some amorphous regulations. Someone who feels she is in a position to criticize, and as someone said has done "good," let's make her great...please propose the regulations and qualifications. You have written tomes of critiques. Time to please provide that which you desire. Any specialty or specifics at all would be helpful...I think you think.

Don't forget to use specific names and facts as you believe so there is no anonymity of which you disdain. Thank you. I am truly looking forward to you specifics so we can all do better.

Or, feel free to move on.

 
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Finance Department
(Login Finance_Department)
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Yeah, let's get down to it, Melody

June 27 2010, 12:28 AM 

unperson said "Heck, let's hear oe see her proposed regulations and not just presume some amorphous regulations." I'm sure he meant "or" and the rest of his post was entertaining, but let's focus on this one gem he posited.

What the "Heck" regulations, exactly, do you think you can impose on cryonics?

Let's hear it in detail. And no, don't use the excuse you don't have to answer "anonymous persons" -- this is a PUBLIC FORUM and if you do not reply to all readers, your credibility is down the tubes.

Oh, and also, how about posting a copy of the text of the non-stack of letters you sent out to gazillions of agencies etc complaining about cryonics' use of propofol? We (NOT JUST ME) would love to see your "real" take on that.

FD

 
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(Login unperson)
Registered User

HOW NOW, BROWN COW?

June 27 2010, 12:52 AM 

IS THIS AN IMPOSTER I SEE BEFORE ME?

 
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Finance Department
(Login Finance_Department)
Veteran Member

Sounds like you need the Mighty Rearranger

June 27 2010, 2:49 AM 

Last night I came upon a stranger
He smiled at me and this is what he said
If you're troubled send your mind out on vacation
Let it wonder like the wild geese in the west

-- Robert Plant


 
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(Login Paul_Michaels)

If Melody didn't exist

June 25 2010, 12:50 PM 

We'd have to invent her!

I believe that, entiely due to the efforts made by Ms Maxim over
the years, that Suspended Animation has probably stepped up the training
for their operatives considerably.
Without her it's possible this may not have happened.

The recent (18-24 months) improvements in the suspension procedures
at CI have been entirely due to the advice and efforts of Ms Maxim.
This is according to Andy Zawacki, Director and Plant Manager at CI.
(and yes I have his permission to quote him on this).

Only recently she pointed out how out date Alcor were on the matter of
Cryonics Property LLC.
This is a company involved in the management of the Alcor patient care fund,
an important element in the functions of Alcor I would have thought.
The company in question had been dissolved since September 2001.

Thanks to Melody Maxim the matter was brought to light and is now being
corrected.

There are probably many other examples of Ms Maxim's positive effect in the cryonics arena but I won't labour the point.

My observations lead me to the conclusion that she does a deal of good, and
in wanting the activities regulated and run by professionals, will find my support wherever I can offer same.

 
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(Login queensblade)
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Go Melody!

June 29 2010, 5:50 PM 

I only wonder why she continues to bother.
Got more patience than I do.

I also want to vote john off the island.

 
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