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Variance Reports/Sentinel Events in Medicine

July 17 2010 at 6:00 AM
  (Login melmax)
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Medical professionals are trained to write "variance reports," when something that could be damaging to patients and/or the institution, occurs. If ONE person on a surgical team acts in an incompetent and/or unethical manner, and everyone on the team looks the other way, patients run the risk of suffering serious injury, or death. In addition to putting patients at risk, the bad behavior of ONE, affects the performance of the entire team, and puts the reputation of the entire institution at risk. At organizations, such as Suspended Animation and Alcor, we have repeated, and well-documented, bad behaviors of, not one, but MANY. Significant progress is unlikely to occur, in such environments. Unless cryonicists want another 40 years of little-to-no progress, and frequent attacks on the credibility of their organizations, serious changes need to be made.

From the "LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER - SHREVEPORT
VARIANCE REPORTING/SENTINEL EVENT POLICY":

"8.A Sentinel Event Root-Cause Analysis shall be considered when an occurrence meets any of the following criteria:
The occurrence involves an unanticipated death or major permanent loss of function.
The occurrence is associated with significant deviation from the usual process(es) for providing health care services or managing the organization.
The event has undermined or has significant potential for undermining the publics confidence in the organization."

http://www.medcom.lsuhscshreveport.edu/cfdocs/qm/docs/2009%20Variance%20Reporting.pdf

As opposed to isolated incidents, which get reported in hospitals, I think MOST of the activities of Alcor and Suspended Animation appear to include "events (which have) undermined or (have) significant potential for undermining the public's confidence in the organization(s)" and in cryonics, as a whole. For so long as people involved in delivering care to cryonicists engage in delivering little more than substandard services and seriously questionable behaviors, the public is going to continue to have a lack of confidence in cryonics organizations.

Personally, I think the majority of the care providers, of Alcor and SA, have probably seriously injured most, (if not all), their clients, and their incompetence has been protected by a misrepresentation to the public (regarding the (lack of) qualifications and capabilities of most of their personnel), the willingness of others to look the other way, and the fact that no one will find out about such injuries for decades or maybe even hundreds of years. The unsuspecting public, being asked to pay $60K to $150K has the right to know the truth about the quality of the services being delivered by these organizations.

Mr. Ettinger, and others, may think looking the other way or covering up these activities, (in regard to an obvious long-standing history of bad behaviors at organizations, such as Suspended Animation and Alcor), protects cryonics organizations, as a whole, but I disagree. At the very least, it grossly impedes progress. At worst, it puts cryonics at a risk of being over-regulated, or banned, altogether. For as long as the players remain the same, there will always be another Kunzman, Johnson, or Maxim, filing public "variance reports" about cryonics activities.

 
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Ken
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Re: Variance Reports/Sentinel Events in Medicine

July 17 2010, 4:53 PM 

I don't think that Mr Ettinger or anyone else here is for ignoring or covering up problems. No movement can progress that way, and we're talking about reasonable and intelligent people here. When a movement is attacked the way cryonics has been attacked by Larry Johnson, people tend to get defensive. Johnson's attacks are obviously vindictive, weather he has some valid points or not. That doesn't lend towards constructive discussion. Try to be objective, Melody.

 
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(Login R_Ettinger)
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"variance reports"

July 17 2010, 8:13 PM 

To say that Johnson has filed a variance report is grotesque. He has written a libelous collection of outright lies and distorted facts.

To say that lack of confidence in cryonics is owing to lack of competence in the organizations is just nonsense, as anyone with objectivity and a little experience should know. With a tiny fraction of exceptions, the entire public up to and including today has been indifferent or hostile, if they even have any knowledge of it. This includes M.D.s and Ph.D.s, even though these are more accepting, percentage wise, than others.

When cryobiologist Dr. Yuri Pichugin worked for CI and got good experimental results, there was no rush to join. When Dr. Greg Fahy, one of the world's best known cryobiologists, wrote a court deposition to help Alcor in a legal matter, there was no rush to join. The resistance to cryonics has nothing to do with scientific evidence, but rather to cultural inertia, which is very slowly giving way. We are growing faster than in earlier years, and with fewer active critics.

Robert Ettinger

 
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TWrelated
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Here's a question

July 18 2010, 11:27 AM 

Do you believe the case notes from the TW preservation as presented in LJ's book illustrate a professional, high-tech, competent medical procedure?

They're shown as written: no lies, no fabrication...

Its interesting that whatever evidence that is presented for cryonics not living up to its promises, the believers just say, "oh, that's ok, we don't care, why should you?"

 
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(Login melmax)
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Disgusting

July 18 2010, 1:26 PM 

Those case notes were the most disgusting thing I've ever read, in my life. If they weren't so sickening, the glaring incompetence would be laughable. Sadly, they probably aren't much different from the case notes of many other cryopresevations.

 
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Charles Platt
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notes

July 19 2010, 4:10 AM 

It seems obvious to me that the notes were taken on an informal ad-hoc basis. But if it wasn't obvious, why not ask nicely? Like this: "I don't understand why a non-native English speaker with no medical experience was the scribe in this case. Can anyone explain this to me?" See, it's not so hard. And guess what, if you ask nicely, you are MORE LIKELY TO GET ANSWERS. But maybe the objective is not to get answers. Maybe it's just to score points wherever an opportunity presents itself. Gosh, I hope I'm wrong about that. It wouldn't be very nice, would it.

For the record:

I was merely a visiting photographer at that time, but when I realized that Alcor did not have a designated scribe, I asked a friend to write down anything that she heard or saw. I figured that some record was better than no record. I am sure we can agree on that. Can't we?

The scribe was intelligent and observant but did not have English as her first language. I told her that if there were terms she did not understand, she should write them out phonetically. I told her that if she couldn't express something formally, she should express it informally. Better to have something than nothing, wouldn't you say? Well, wouldn't you?

Johnson found the notes very useful in establishing a chronology of the case, along with some descriptions of events that occurred. So, either the notes were incompetent, or they were useful. Either they were sloppy, or they were accurate. You can't have it both ways.

The scribe remained on duty for four hours continuously, as I recall--maybe longer. Thus the record is complete, and if the technical terms that were spelled out phonetically are spoken aloud (to derive their meaning), the record is more useful than others that I have seen, in other cases, by some scribes who did have English as their first language.

Of course I am ignoring one rather pointed question: Why did Alcor not have any designated scribe during the case in question? Why did a visitor, such as myself, have to ask someone to fill in on an impromptu basis? Well, Jerry Lemler was running things then. Maybe it didn't occur to him to have a scribe during a cryopreservation procedure. He might have thought that it was enough for us to be documenting it with two digital cameras, one handheld camcorder, and one fixed camcorder. (Too bad Johnson couldn't get access to those pictures; I took them away and locked them in a safe deposit box. That's why they never appeared on the "Free Ted" site. Sorry about that, Larry.)

Incidentally, anyone who thinks it's easy to find someone who will remain attentive and make good notes for hours on end, during a cryonics case, obviously has no experience in this area (not that ignorance has ever provided any disincentive for criticism on this horrible forum). During my six months and five cases at Alcor, I tried numerous different scribes. I didn't feel that any of them did a really thorough job. The trouble is, the job requires someone to show up, often in the middle of the night, with minimal advance warning, maybe once every two months. It's NOT LIKE A HOSPITAL, can we get that straight? In a hospital, you can have fulltime people doing the same job again and again, day after day. They draw regular pay. It's a career for them. This ought to be so incredibly obvious.

(I did manage to find a really good surgical nurse who was sufficiently interested in cryonics to participate in the OR, even though he had to drive all the way in from Cottonwood, but he was a very rare exception.)

The bottom line is, the notes were taken, they were relatively complete, they have been useful, and if that person hadn't been asked to fill in, I doubt there would have been any notes at all. And if Johnson hadn't copied them so that Sports Illustrated could print excerpts, they would have retained the status that was intended: As an impromptu adjunct to the photographic record.

None of which matters if one's primary activity is to express, over and over again, ad nauseam, for more than THREE YEARS, that one is "shocked, just shocked" to find underqualified people working in cryonics.

In fact I tried hiring qualified people. Larry Johnson was one. I'll have more to say about this in a future post when my attorney has finished checking it.

 
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(Login melmax)
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More of the Same

July 19 2010, 10:26 AM 

Charles misunderstands. The "disgusting" and "grotesque" portions of the notes had to do with the surgery and things like blood pouring out from every place EXCEPT where it should have been. Erico's poor English was more comical, than anything else.

Platt: "It seems obvious to me that the notes were taken on an informal ad-hoc basis."

It seems obvious, to me, that after three decades, Alcor should have had someone capable of providing operating room personnel on more than an "informal ad-hoc basis," especially in light of the fact they seemed to be banking on this celebrity case to bring them positive publicity, and they had a long time to prepare, since Mr. Williams had to be transported from Florida.

Platt: "But if it wasn't obvious, why not ask nicely? Like this: "I don't understand why a non-native English speaker with no medical experience was the scribe in this case. Can anyone explain this to me?" See, it's not so hard. And guess what, if you ask nicely, you are MORE LIKELY TO GET ANSWERS. But maybe the objective is not to get answers. Maybe it's just to score points wherever an opportunity presents itself. Gosh, I hope I'm wrong about that. It wouldn't be very nice, would it."

Everyone who worked with Platt, at SA, knows that "asking nicely," or "suggesting nicely," when it comes to Charles, gets even less results than being direct and/or confrontational. Regardless, I did once write a post in which I asked a version of the question Platt is suggesting. I'm not going to dig for it, but I believe my question went something like this: "Charles Platt has publicly complained about a large number of observers milling about, snapping souvenir photos of the Ted Williams case, and I'm sure most of them had a reasonable mastery of the English language. So, why was someone whose first language is not English, and who, (according to Platt, himself, in his conversations with me), would "take six months to read one of his novels, and then probably not understand most of it," taking the Ted Williams case notes?

At SA, Charles also recommended this same friend, the person he describes as "a non-native English speaker with no medical experience," to design SA's website. He'll say Bary Wilson hired Erico, but Bary Wilson told me he was new at SA, and that Charles made it pretty clear he would question Bary's judgment, if Bary did not hire Erico. Bary, being aware of Charles' influence with Saul, and wanting to continue working at SA, agreed to pay Erico (actually a partnership owned by Charles and Erico), $8,000, plus $50 an hour, to work on the web site. Erico, understandably, made little-to-no progress, on the website, over a period of many months. As I recall, Charles defended her as a "talented web designer." Here's her own web site, still in the same condition it was, four years ago, when Bary felt pressured to hire her, at Charles' urging, in spite of feeling she was under-qualified: http://endesigns.com/

Platt: "I was merely a visiting photographer at that time, but when I realized that Alcor did not have a designated scribe, I asked a friend to write down anything that she heard or saw. I figured that some record was better than no record. I am sure we can agree on that. Can't we?"

No, we can't agree on that. It was foolish for Alcor to allow "merely a visiting photographer at the time" to assign tasks for Ted Williams' surgery, and even more foolish for "merely a visiting photographer" to take it upon himself to direct activities, in Alcor's operating room. (The truth is, no one can rely on job titles, when it comes to cryonics and/or Platt, and I have a mountain of SA emails, to prove that. People make up their own job titles, (I and my co-workers were instructed to do so, by Charles, at SA), and judging by my past experience with an SA "consultant," there's a possibility someone described as a "visiting photographer" could be running the show. In fact, Charles, himself, is offering up proof he influenced a (very poor) decision made in Alcor's operating room, that day.)

Platt: "Of course I am ignoring one rather pointed question: Why did Alcor not have any designated scribe during the case in question? Why did a visitor, such as myself, have to ask someone to fill in on an impromptu basis? Well, Jerry Lemler was running things then."

Charles taking another opportunity to blame mistakes on others. Charles has frequently carried on campaigns to get others fired, and I believe Lemler was one of his many targets. I know Mathew Sullivan and Bary Wilson were, and even Aschwin to some degree, and I think there's plenty of evidence and witnesses to support that he went to great trouble to undermine me.

Platt: "(Too bad Johnson couldn't get access to those pictures; I took them away and locked them in a safe deposit box. That's why they never appeared on the "Free Ted" site. Sorry about that, Larry.)"

We all know that, from the email Charles sent to Larry Johnson, suggesting Johnson should have let him co-author "Frozen," claiming he (Charles) had the Ted Williams photos in a safe deposit box. Why was "merely a visiting photographer," or a "COO," or ANYONE taking Ted Williams photos away, and locking them in a (?personal?) safe deposit box? Are these photos still in the possession of Charles Platt? If so, I would suggest Alcor retrieve them. (Actually, I suggested that to Ms. Chapman a long time ago.)

Platt: "Incidentally, anyone who thinks it's easy to find someone who will remain attentive and make good notes for hours on end, during a cryonics case, obviously has no experience in this area (not that ignorance has ever provided any disincentive for criticism on this horrible forum)."

Platt's own ignorance continues to be as mind-boggling as it was nearly four years ago. Surgical personnel remain attentive to critical tasks AND take extensive notes, for hours on end. As a perfusionist, I charted every 10-15, while I was operating a heart-lung machine, and an assortment of other equipment. The anesthesia personnel and the circulating nurse took equally extensive notes. There were times when our heart team worked for days on end, with very little sleep. (Note: If Platt finds this forum to be "horrible," why is he even reading it?)

Platt: "During my six months and five cases at Alcor, I tried numerous different scribes. I didn't feel that any of them did a really thorough job. The trouble is, the job requires someone to show up, often in the middle of the night, with minimal advance warning, maybe once every two months. It's NOT LIKE A HOSPITAL, can we get that straight? In a hospital, you can have fulltime people doing the same job again and again, day after day. They draw regular pay. It's a career for them. This ought to be so incredibly obvious."

What "ought to be so incredibly obvious" is that after four decades of trying to deliver something that should be at least as good as, or more advanced than, conventional hypothermic medicine, organizations like Alcor and SA look like a bunch of bumbling idiots. They have the money to use as "regular pay" for qualified people, who could show up in the middle of the night and know what they are doing. I'm certain everyone who ever worked with me in open-heart surgery, would describe me as a very skilled perfusionist, and SA could certainly afford me and others like me, (as could Alcor). If they don't have such people, I believe it's only due to extremely poor management, and a hostile environment toward medical professionals who want to make changes that might turn the attention away from certain design and fabrication projects.

Platt: "The bottom line is, the notes were taken, they were relatively complete, they have been useful, and if that person hadn't been asked to fill in, I doubt there would have been any notes at all. And if Johnson hadn't copied them so that Sports Illustrated could print excerpts, they would have retained the status that was intended: As an impromptu adjunct to the photographic record."

This is just really weird. I agree the notes have been useful, in painting Alcor's surgical team as grossly incompetent. Not surprisingly, Charles seems to think his photographic record should have been the "be all, and end all," of the Ted Williams case documentation. I've got news, for Charles...pictures may be worth a thousand words, in some situations, but not in a surgical setting. If such were the case, surgeries in conventional medicine would be documented photographically, and it's pretty rare for a camera to be used in a surgical setting.

Platt: "In fact I tried hiring qualified people. Larry Johnson was one. I'll have more to say about this in a future post when my attorney has finished checking it."

We've already been through this, Charles, and everyone who has worked with you knows how it plays out. You make a big show of hiring qualified people, and the minute they disagree with you, on anything, (even matters within their area of expertise), you start undermining them. I once posted a list of 6-8 people and asked if anyone knew what the people on the list had in common. I don't think anyone responded, on the forum, but I got a couple of private (correct) responses. The people on this list had all worked with Charles Platt. We (I was on the list) all had known difficulties working with Charles. I think at least half of us had been hired by Charles, and most of us initially considered Charles to be a friend, but later did not. At least three of us had, publicly, accused Charles of being dishonest.

Wouldn't it have been interesting to know what would have happened, if Charles had actually left the SA facility, when he "resigned," and Aschwin and I had remained there? I think Charles Platt, and others, have substantial financial incentives to see that things remain on an amateur level, in cryonics.

 
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TWrelated
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Another question

July 19 2010, 11:01 AM 

My understanding is that Alcor has a staff of people with very little to do EXCEPT when there is a case to process. Why wouldn't ALL these people be available if needed, to do the one crucial thing they claim they're in business for?

 
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Charles Platt
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good question

July 19 2010, 2:36 PM 

Thank you TW for the question. First, bear in mind my active involvement at Alcor ended in 2003. My answer is a personal opinion, and I do not speak in any way on behalf of the organization.

Alcor had two classes of employees, more or less. Some took care of office duties on a 9-5 basis. They were not signed up for cryonics and were not expected to participate in cases. Then there were people like Mathew Sullivan and Hugh Hixon, who did lab work or restocked standby kits by day, but would switch roles and work in the OR when a case came in. And lastly there was a contract surgeon, and in the TW case of course, as you know, people from SA arrived to oversee procedures.

I had no role of authority there whatsoever. I hadn't even visited Alcor in a long time. I just knew that someone should be doing the scribe work, and I didn't see anyone who was available and willing.

Bear in mind that Fred and Linda Chamberlain, who ran the organization between them, had just left under acrimonious circumstances. This was a huge loss of expertise and experience, and they didn't stick around to train their successor. Jerry Lemler was learning on the job.

I would imagine that things are very different now. I certainly hope so. During the cases that I ran, scribe work was always done. But I have not participated in the Alcor OR in 7 years.

 
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Charles Platt
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rebuttal

July 19 2010, 2:20 PM 

Maxim: "The "disgusting" and "grotesque" portions of the notes had to do with the surgery and things like blood pouring out from every place EXCEPT where it should have been."

This is a gross exaggeration, and may be defamatory. I doubt that Alcor's contract neurosurgeon would appreciate the remark.

Maxim: "Everyone who worked with Platt, at SA, knows that "asking nicely," or "suggesting nicely," when it comes to Charles, gets even less results"

You are responding to general statements with yet another ad-hominem attack, and it is demonstrably untrue. But the real question is why this still so personal for you, after so many years. Didn't you go through a brief spell of contrition, here, when you told us that your therapist suggested it would be a good idea to let go of your anger? What happened to that?

Maxim: "why was someone whose first language is not English...taking the Ted Williams case notes?"

Because in my opinion, she could be trusted to remain attentive and do the job. And she did. There were not a whole lot of people to choose from.

Maxim: "Charles made it pretty clear he would question Bary's judgment, if Bary did not hire Erico."

Untrue and defamatory. So noted. You omit to mention that Bary obtained competing bids from people he knew.

Maxim: "It was foolish for Alcor to allow "merely a visiting photographer at the time" to assign tasks for Ted Williams' surgery,"

You have an opinion. It is based on your experience in an operating room 10 or 15 years ago, under totally different circumstances. I believe your opinion is irrelevant in this context.

Maxim: "Charles taking another opportunity to blame mistakes on others. Charles has frequently carried on campaigns to get others fired,"

More and more of the same. It is so amazingly obsessional. Anyway, I didn't need to "carry on a campaign." I polled other employees as a courtesy and discussed the matter with the CEO, who had sole authority to hire or dismiss employees. At the time, your theory was that the CEO must somehow be under my influence, an idea that gave him and myself a great deal of amusement. You had so many conspiracy theories. For example that I did not "really" quit my position, and intended to continue running SA remotely, on a "covert" basis. Do you still believe that, incidentally? If not, may we now have a retraction?

Maxim: "I think there's plenty of evidence and witnesses to support that he went to great trouble to undermine me."

You mounted a campaign to get rid of me. This is very well documented and culminated in a meeting where, as I am sure you recall, two employees took your side and three did not. The campaign was somewhat presumptuous, bearing in mind your short time at the company and a pre-existing relationship of trust between myself and the directors of the company stretching back over 15 years. Not many people have such a high opinion of their worth that they go into a job and after a few months, try to get rid of a general manager who rebuilt the company from zero. When your campaign failed, you resigned, and you seem to have been obsessing over this ever since. I don't think it makes you happy, and it certainly doesn't do any good.

Maxim: "Are these photos still in the possession of Charles Platt? If so, I would suggest Alcor retrieve them."

Your presumptuousness, again, is remarkable. Surely this is none of your business.

Maxim: "Surgical personnel remain attentive to critical tasks AND take extensive notes, for hours on end."

That's nice. But you have not addressed the points I already made explaining why it is difficult to hire "surgical personnel" for this kind of task in cryonics--especially at Alcor, where the financial situation is by no means robust.

Maxim: "organizations like Alcor and SA look like a bunch of bumbling idiots."

Okay. How about yourself? Oh, wait, here it is, the inevitable followup:

Maxim: "I'm certain everyone who ever worked with me in open-heart surgery, would describe me as a very skilled perfusionist,"

I have been reading this kind of boasting on and off for three years now. To me, when I see someone acting this way, I tend to wonder if the person feels insecure. Is there another explanation?

Maxim: "Not surprisingly, Charles seems to think his photographic record should have been the "be all, and end all," of the Ted Williams case documentation."

I never suggested or implied anything of this kind. But once again, you are making it personal and arguing from your limited experience under very different circumstances. Did you have someone in your operating room with a handheld camcorder two feet from the surgical procedure? You didn't, did you? So, the experiences are not comparable. You don't know how we shot video in the Alcor OR. You have never seen any of it. Yet you present yourself as an authority on the subject. Likewise, you present yourself as an authority to critique cryonics cases, even though you have never participated in one, so far as I am aware.

Maxim: "Everyone who has worked with you knows how it plays out."

Untrue. I remain on excellent terms with many people whom I have worked with. Now, since you have opened this unpleasantly personal topic, how about yourself? Let's see, there was Aschwin de Wolf--no, I guess he is not so close with you these days. Mathew Sullivan--hm, he seems to have had a change of heart. How many people have you alienated? Since your falling-out with CI, I think it's close to 100 percent, isn't it? But you are still on good terms with Larry Johnson. Anyone else?

"I think Charles Platt, and others, have substantial financial incentives to see that things remain on an amateur level, in cryonics."

This is untrue and defamatory. So noted.

 
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(Login melmax)
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Just a Few Remarks

July 19 2010, 5:13 PM 

Charles can refute all the statements he wants, and throw out the word "defamatory" as many times as it takes to make him feel good. I don't type anything I don't believe I can support with documents and/or witnesses. I'm acquainted with some excellent attorneys, and I have a substantial savings account I wouldn't mind spending on expert medical witnesses and depositions, to iron this whole mess out. I am not going to spend my days going back and forth, on CF, with someone I find lacking in credibility and who refuses to acknowledge the similarities between cryonics procedures and existing conventional medical procedures, but I do have a few remarks:

I don't care whether Alcor's contract neurosurgeon would appreciate my remarks about a surgery that seems to have been primarily performed by Mike Darwin, or not. I think it would be well worth the money, (for entertainment purposes, if nothing else), to have someone show up in court with those case notes, claiming what I wrote was "defamatory." I'm sure the media would appreciate it, too.

I never said a "therapist suggested it would be a good idea to let go of (my) anger," and for Charles to suggest I was seeing a therapist for anything to do with anger, is most certainly untrue and, (to use Charles' "Word of the Week"), defamatory.

Any contrition I expressed, (on my own volition, and not at the suggestion of a therapist), was in regard to my extremely harsh criticisms of two people who were just trying to keep their high-paying jobs, by doing what the person responsible for hiring them and blessing them with some very generous salaries and benefits, told them to do. (That would be a "yes" to Charles asking if I still believed he manipulated my two "co-managers," after his pseudo-resignation.)

Charles can make all the "points" he wants, about why "it is difficult to hire surgical personnel for this kind of task in cryonics," (and contrary to what he writes, I've addressed his "points" many times in the past), but my opinions regarding the lack of competent professionals, in cryonics, remains the same.

I'm not sure what Charles is referring to, by a "falling out, with CI." Is he referring to Mr. Ettinger and I bickering over Johnson's book? Is Mr. Ettinger CI? Ben sent me a technical question, a week, or two ago, and I responded. Mr. Ettinger and I still exchange civil emails, though we are having a dispute, over the Johnson book. Andy and I get along fine.

Charles accuses me of "getting personal," but I think his posts have more of a personal ring to them, than mine. Take this, for example: "But you are still on good terms with Larry Johnson. Anyone else?" That's childish, I barely even know Larry Johnson, but I have plenty of friends. If I have lost a couple of friends, in cryonics, it's because I write things they don't want to know, or admit to. Other than in matters related to cryonics, I have a lifetime of healthy relationships with co-workers, and friends from all walks of life. (Does Charles really think he knows how many friends I have, in cryonics, by the way? He might be surprised.)

Finally, it only recently dawned on me that Charles really does not know just how similar the procedures SA and Alcor are selling are, to procedures performed in heart surgery on a daily basis. If we ever have to show up in the same courtroom, or in front of a regulatory board, along with impartial experts familiar with existing hypothermic arrest cases and capable of understanding the goals of the washout and vitrification procedures, I am absolutely, 1,000 percent sure, my views will be supported. "Cryonics case experience" isn't worth beans, compared to having experience in subjecting people to deep hypothermic arrest, and having them live to tell about it. The cannulations and perfusion are, fundamentally, the same. Too bad most of the people working in cryonics don't know how to do either.

Sorry, Charles, no retractions, but maybe you should think about one, in regard to that therapist remark.

 
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charles platt
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anger etc

July 20 2010, 3:55 PM 

I hope our esteemed moderator will allow a purely factual reply here, since I was accused of saying something that isn't true, and I would like to explain my reasons for believing that it is true.

Yesterday Maxim wrote, "I never said a 'therapist suggested it would be a good idea to let go of (my) anger,' and for Charles to suggest I was seeing a therapist for anything to do with anger, is most certainly untrue and, (to use Charles' "Word of the Week"), defamatory."

Apparently the reference to a therapist, or a counselor (I am not sure of the difference) originated on Maxim's own blog. On Cold Filter, on July 12, 2008 I wrote a post which I am quoting here, in part:

--------------------------Beginning of quoted Platt post

A friend forwarded to me some excerpts from the Maxim blog:

Certainly, "beating up" people associated with SA, felt a lot better than taking out my anger and frustration on people who I felt had unintentionally hurt me, or on my innocent loved ones.

and:

Sometimes, when we lash out, perhaps it's deserved, but the degree of hostility is influenced by other things.

and:

Though I know I won't be able to always turn those feelings off, or keep certain situations in their "compartments," I think I can do a lot better than I have been. (This is written with about seven months of weekly counseling sessions under my belt, and a lot of love and support from my family.)

--------------------------End of quoted Platt post

This is why I felt I had good reason to believe that what I wrote about counseling for anger was true.

In response to my post quoted above, Maxim wrote a lengthy reply on Cold Filter, dated July 12, 2008, accusing me of being manipulative. However in this lengthy response she did not dispute that my quote from her blog was accurate. Therefore I tend to think it was accurate. In the years since then, it appears to have been purged from her blog, but we still have the Cold Filter archives, so helpfully assembled by Finance Department. Thus anyone should be able to verify these posts. My post is serial numbered 1215879520, while Maxim's reply is serial-numbered 1215906121.

I hope there is no need to continue this thread, now that I have simply explained my reasons for what I stated.

--Charles Platt

 
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(Login melmax)
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Taking Things out of Context

July 21 2010, 8:45 AM 

My counseling had nothing to do with anger, it was related to what my counselor labeled as "appropriate anxiety and depression," related to a personal matter, unrelated to cryonics. An attorney could have avoided the entire situation, with one simple phone call, but he did not. While I believe his mistake was negligent, I never believed it was intentional. Unfortunately, another attorney took advantage of that mistake, and used it to put a lot of people through hell, for the next three years. Though I was certainly angry and frustrated, at times, during the course of those events, I was not going to counseling to deal with anger. In fact, my counselor often suggested she would be a LOT MORE angry about the situation, if she were in my position. At no time, during my counseling, did I mention SA, anyone working at SA, or cryonics, in general, until an attorney brought up cryonics, to try to discredit me, (he implied I had been involved in a scam). I found it to be a moment of comic relief, in a very difficult situation, and I may have mentioned it, to my counselor at that time, (as something funny), but again, she and I never discussed my experiences in cryonics, with any detail.

At no time, have I ever stated a therapist suggested I should "let go of my anger," as no therapist has ever made such a suggestion to me. For Charles Platt to take what I wrote out of context and make a very specific statement"...when you told us that your therapist suggested it would be a good idea to let go of your anger"..., is defamatory. I have the blog entry archived, on the Internet. I think it's clear Charles took what I wrote out of context, and used it to make it appear as though I was going to counseling for anger issues, when I was not. Again, I think he should consider retracting his very specific, and untrue, statement.

 
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Finance Department
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What's wrong with being angry?

July 21 2010, 7:01 PM 

IMO it is certainly not something to get counselling for, unless it drives one to violence.

And so it looks from here like she said she was angry, but that was not what she got counselling for.

Another question really is - "Who cares?"

Let's hope the nemeses Maxim and Platt (stated in nonpreferential alphabetical order) have completed this latest skirmish in the battle to control the cryonic universe. It's getting a little old. Indeed, it might be good for this thread to quietly end, before Forum Owner gets his own "anger" issues happy.gif

Cheers,

FD

 
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Mathew Sullivan
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Watch out for the cyber police

July 21 2010, 8:30 PM 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8UqWLvBR4w

I'm sure the parties involved here will get their time in court.

 
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charles platt
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response

July 21 2010, 8:18 PM 

Please note that my original text was phrased as a question.
I began, "Didn't you go through a brief spell..."
I never stated as a fact that you were undergoing anger management.
I asked a question based on my understanding of what you had written previously.
You now state, "Though I was certainly angry and frustrated, at times, during the
course of those events, I was not going to counseling to deal with anger."
Well, if that is the case, I think your answer to my question would be "no."
Either way, any misinterpretation on my part was clearly not malicious.
Thank you for your clarification.

 
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A bit more...

July 19 2010, 9:56 PM 

Platt: "You mounted a campaign to get rid of me. This is very well documented and culminated in a meeting where, as I am sure you recall, two employees took your side and three did not...When your campaign failed, you resigned, and you seem to have been obsessing over this ever since."

I actually, initially, mounted a campaign to try to convince Charles, (and when he wouldn't listen to me, Saul), that the projects we were spending most of SA's time and money on, were misguided. I'm sorry Charles can't accept there is little difference, between the perfusion procedures needed to deliver cryonics solutions and those carried out in open-heart surgery, but there really isn't. Charles might remember that, when he tendered his resignation, he sat in my office and told me I would be better for the company, than he would, and saying he really just wanted to go back to Arizona. Charles knows I responded by saying I didn't want him to leave, I simply wanted him to let us do things a little differently. (That was sincere.)

I vaguely remember some sort of meeting, where we discussed Charles, but I'm pretty sure we never voted on "getting rid of him," and no such meeting resulted in my resignation.

 
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TWrelated
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My point was

July 19 2010, 10:49 AM 

that Alcor sells cryonics as a high-tech, state of the art medical procedure for a large amount of money. The case notes seem to indicate an incompetence on the part of Alcor; both from the process and the idea that a visitor would step up to take them, implying it was not very important.

I keep asking: Why shouldn't the customer get the best medical care humanly possible for the price they're paying and the promise they're chasing?

The believers just keep arguing none of it matters...

There is more regulation (ie, protecting the consumer and his money) at my corner service station than there is at Alcor.

If the cryonics industry is as open and transparent as you claim, and regulations might establish a level of standards, how could anyone be against it?

Well, look at the TW case report.

 
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Charles Platt
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state of the art?

July 19 2010, 2:44 PM 

Again, I am speaking only for myself here.

The marketing of cryonics has always bothered me. But if I were working for a hospital, where I would be aware of various errors and omissions, marketing the hospital would bother me too. We all know how many malpractice suits there are. I myself have experienced a gross surgical error which resulted in uncontrolled bleeding.

To its credit, Alcor does maintain a section of its web site where it lists problems in cryonics, and its signup documents make it very clear that this is an experimental procedure.

Does Alcor really describe cryonics as being "a high-tech, state of the art medical procedure"? Not that I am aware of. I think its description is factually accurate.

The price may seem high to you, but imagine maintaining a nationwide response capability, involving some fairly complicated procedures and fairly expensive equipment, for a customer base of, what, 1000 people? In fact cryonics is grossly underpriced, when you consider that a significant portion of the cryopreservation fee has to be set aside for indefinite care.

There is not more regulation at your gas station. I would say there is precisely the same amount. Both entities must conform with local codes. Both may be inspected.

I do not claim that the cryonics industry is open and transparent. It used to be, in the 1980s, but not anymore. The incessant personal attacks, primarily on this forum, were the nail in the coffin, so to speak. This has been a great loss.

I do not believe that regulation is the answer. I believe that competition and a higher level of income would be a possible answer. This is why I have worked for two organizations which aimed to provide competition.

 
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TWrelated
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I guess its implied by this statement:

July 19 2010, 3:13 PM 

"The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is the world leader in cryonics, cryonics research, and cryonics technology." From the Alcor website.

As far as regulation at the service station, I have a right to see the parts that were replaced and I have a right to watch the work being performed. There are regulatory agencies to settle disputes between customer and service provider.

Who examined the TW case notes to determine if he got his money's worth with that preservation, or were untrained people running amuck playing doctor? Where can one go to complain if they choose?

Why should the care for a person "undead" be any less high quality than the care for one still alive? I'm not trying to argue, but I think that's a crucial question in regards to cryonics care.

 
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Charles Platt
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answers

July 19 2010, 9:54 PM 

"World leader in cryonics" doesn't mean much, does it? I mean, one could just as well have a company that was a "world leader in cold fusion research." Still I agree I would not have used that phrasing myself.

As for seeing work being done, I have participated in cases where relatives were present, in the operating room. It is rare, perhaps because relatives usually would not want to be present.

There are courts to settle disputes between Alcor and other parties. And they have done so. I doubt that a regulatory agency such as the FDA would help you very much if you had a dispute with a doctor.

The care for the "undead" may be less "high quality" because a) it's a low-budget operation and b) it's an experimental procedure, as clearly stated in the signup documents.

You seem to have unrealistic expectations.

 
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TWrelated
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"You seem to have unrealistic expectations."

July 20 2010, 11:03 AM 

Expecting invasive medical procedures to be performed on human bodies by trained medical professionals seems unrealistic?

$150,000 to $200,000 doesn't sound especially "low-budget" to me...

 
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Charles Platt
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low-budget

July 21 2010, 6:13 AM 

As I have explained, the money is supposed to cover deployment of significantly complicated equipment and personnel to anywhere in the United States and Canada (or even the world), at short notice; followed by a standby of indeterminate length. This alone is an expensive proposition. You then have operating-room procedures involving significantly expensive cryoprotectant and other factors, and a large portion of the money is set aside to cover indefinite preservation in liquid nitrogen. Moreover, the organization must sustain itself on a day-to-day basis between cases, dealing with all the everyday tasks that any business must address, ranging from book keeping to member services.

I am not sure where your $200,000 figure comes from.

Interestingly, when I told a group of senior citizens about the cost of cryonics recently, during a financial planning seminar, they thought that the price was surprisingly cheap.

I could do the math for you, adding up everything from the purchase price of a new electric-powered CPS device (more than $10,000, I think) to the cost of transport vehicle conversion, cost of consumables, cost of air tickets and lodging, cost of mortuary rental, patient transport, perfusate, cost of dewar fabrication, and on and on. You would find that when everything is added up, AND you factor in the salaries for employees, the cost of utilities, and general costs of doing business, Alcor may be short of as much as $200,000 per year.

You still think cryonics is overpriced?

 
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TWrelated
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Only guessing here, but...

July 21 2010, 2:58 PM 

$150,00. to 200,000. are the numbers I've heard; and the TW preservation is the only one I'm familiar with.

Apparently the family paid about $23,000. for transport from Florida to Alcor. No deployment, no standby or vehicle conversions.

OK, for discussion sake, say the total preservation cost was $150,000.

Can we assume $50,000. covers the preservation procedure? If so, that leaves $100,000. for liquid nitrogen. What does that cost, divided by the number of preserved?

I don't know how many "patients" Alcor has interred, but each might have this $100,000. reserve. And I doubt that money is just sitting under the bed, I imagine its invested to bring returns and cash flow.

Yes, I'd love to see a breakdown of how that $150,000. is applied, and to learn the number of patients Alcor has in Dewars. I believe it been stated Alcor has about 3 million in it's patient trust? That money must be generating some pretty nice cash flow...

 
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Finance Department
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I did your Googling for you

July 21 2010, 7:00 PM 

This page explains how the $150K (or $80 for what Alcor calls "neuro") cryopreservation funding is broken down:
http://www.alcor.org/BecomeMember/scheduleA.html

Nobody gets rich off this money. Alcor doesn't even receive the money, in most cases, until after their member is cryopreserved. (Some long after, alas, such as TW).

The only people making any money off of cryonics are the organizations' employees and contractors, the values of whose services can differ considerably.

BTW, alcor.org has another page showing very current data on their PCT assets and returns. Google it happy.gif

Cheers,

FD

 
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