Cryonics Procedures

As soon as the heart stops, legal death must be pronounced by a physician or nurse. The patient is then lowered into a water-ice bath, and blood circulation and breathing are artificially restored by a Heart Lung Resuscitator (HLR), which administers cardio-pulmonary support (CPR). Special medications are given to protect the brain from damage that may be caused from a lack of oxygen. Thirty minutes later, major arteries and veins are surgically accessed and the patient is placed on cardiopulmonary bypass, meaning that blood is now circulated through a heart-lung machine, and CPR stops. A heart exchanger in the machine reduces the patient’s temperature to a few degrees below the freezing point of water. The blood is replaced with an organ preservation solution that is commonly used to preserve transplanted organs in cases where the donor and the recipient are separated by large distances. The patient is then packed in water-ice for air shipment to a surgical facility.
A surgeon attaches cannulae to the big vessels of the heart. A solution containing glycerol, an anti-freeze agent that inhibits freezing damage, is gently injected into the major arteries. Its concentration is gradually increased during a four-hour procedure known as cryoprotective perfusion. After perfusion is complete, the patient is immersed in silicone oil for cooling to -79 degrees Celsius, which takes about 48 hours and completes the transport and perfusion phases of human cryopreservation. The cryonic patient is maintained at -196 degrees Celsius, which is the temperature of liquid nitrogen.

Legal Issues

v No official state or federal laws in the U.S specifically aimed at cryonics
v But must work with legally dead humans-can’t be alive or in between

v Not strictly illegal-but must comply with state laws controlling the transport and disposition of human remains, and companies such as Alcor make arrangements with licensed morticians to insure that the requirements are met.

v Laws that are incorporated with cryonics-
v Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA)-obtain legal custody of the patients “human remains” (when dead)
v Living Wills and health care directives-Attorney for health care or a living will can be used to state what kind of medial care you want to receive or to refuse when you are in a terminal condition and unable to act for yourself (Medical surrogate-person you appoint to make and carry out those decisions on your behalf)
v Uniform of Determination of Death Act-the criteria for pronouncement of death in each state
v Still being discussed to this day

Moral Issues:

To use cryonics, a person must be legally dead – without a heartbeat – but not ultimately dead, when the brain’s essential information is destroyed. Every day, people who are legally dead are resuscitated. However, if the person wants to be frozen, doctors do not attempt to resuscitate them – cryonics acts as a DNR. (Do Not Resuscitate) Some believe it is morally wrong not to save a person who could be revived. Others feel it is the patient's decision. If they want to undergo cryonics instead of being revived, it is their decision. It is possible for non-cryonics patients to issue DNRs, so some say cryonics is no more morally wrong than a DNR.
Cryonics is not assured to work, and in the future it may never be possible to revive cryonics patients. No one can predict the future, and issues such as nuclear war or economic collapse could mean death for cryopreserved patients.
Cryopreserved patients also face a scary fate: their families and friends may be dead when they are unfrozen. Some wonder if it is right to isolate a person in such a manner, or to preserve someone when the world’s resources are dwindling.
Cryonics can be an expensive procedure, and research on it costs a lot of money. This raises the issue about who should receive cryonics. However, some insurance policies pay for part of the cost. Cryonics is an elective procedure, and if insurance companies pay for it, they cannot use this money for other things. Some believe this money should be used to provide basic care for impoverished people without any insurance.
Still others wonder who should receive cryonics. Cryonics offers terminally ill patients a chance to live long enough for a cure to be found. Years ago, diseases such as smallpox were deadly. Now, they are preventable and controlled. However, offering such a hope to patients with diseases such as cancer and AIDS is wrong in the eyes of some. These diseases may never be cured, even if the patients are cryopreserved for hundreds of years.
Some believe cryonics is against religious values. Some cryonicists believe one’s soul remains in their body even when they are frozen. However, others feel the soul dies when cryopreserved, or that cryonics is going against God’s will to have a patient die.

Discussion Questions:

1. Should someone have to be legally dead before they are allowed to be put into a cryonic freeze, or should they be allowed to freeze themselves when ever they would like?
2. Should people be aloud to freeze themselves in hope of being treated by new medicine, or should someone just let their body die when it dies?
3. Should scientist unfreeze one of their frozen patients to see if they can resuscitate them, or should they go as scheduled and wait till the year of 2100?
4. Should cryonics be considered a science? If not should it still receive founding, or should the founding be given to other areas of research?
5. Should all hospitals be equipped with cryonic machines, and have a personal trained in the techniques of cryonics?

The cost of cryonics depends on where you die, and what you would like to be frozen. On average a whole body freezing will cost about 38 thousand dollars, and a neurological freezing cost between 18 thousand to 28 thousand dollars. The estimates do not include the price of transport. This means you could pay for a ambulance ride to the scheduled area of freezing, or you could pay for a helicopter ride to your freezing area. Another change that might affect the price of cryonics would be the switch to a paid staff. Many cryonics centers were run by volunteers, but it is believed that many will switch to paid staff due to the increase in numbers of frozen subjects.



Website Evaluations:

Website URL:**<span**
Name of Reviewer: Brigette
Date of Review: 5/20
Review of Site: The organization responsible for this website is Longevity Meme. There is a date on the website, which says it was mostly recently updated on April 7th 2008. No it is not bias and the information is mostly facts providing its readers with information. It is an overview of what cryonics is but it also provides some information on how to sign up for it. This website is to inform its readers with information on Cryonics so they can help them make a decision or help them get interested in cryonics.

Website URL:<span

Name of Reviewer: Jack
Date of Review:5/21/08
Review of Site: This site was written and is managed by the Cryonics Institution. It was last updated in 2002. The information displayed is meant to inform the readers in depth about cryonics. This website contains no biases, and is backed by many scientists. Therefore I find this website to be a good resource page that could be used for learning knowledge on t he subject of cryonics.

Website URL:<span style="FONT-SIZE: 90%">
Name of Reviewer: Remy
Date of Review: 5/20/08

Review of Site: The website was last edited April 1, 2006 and gives an overview on the topic. The website provides links to several studies by organizations such as NASA and the University of Miami. It is unbiased, and its purpose is to inform the reader. I would recommend the source because it provides links to scientific studies.

Website URL:

Name of Reviewer: Jess
Date of Review: 20 May 2008
Review of Site: The institution responsible for this webpage is The Cryonics Society. Although there is no date for when the webpage was last updated, the Copyright date is 2007. The information on this page is bias toward the positivity of using cryonic treatment, with the informational information being clearly stated. The information presented is a brief overview of cryonic medical treatment. The purpose of the information is to inform people of cryonic treatment and to persuade people to experience it. Based on my evaluation, I would not recommend this webpage to others because it is incredibly bias and does not present anyway on contacting the society or finding information about it.