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I have not written very much recently as I have been very busy progressing a number of cryonics projects. In addition to the standby project I am describing the status of here, I have taken over the leadership role in our sister organization Stasis Systems Australia (SSA). I am working to accelerate SSA’s project to become operational soon.
As I have discussed in previous blogs, I have been working on developing a cryonics standby network for Australia since about May this year, after my visit to the US. In this I have had the very kind assistance of Aaron Drake (Alcor’s Medical Response Director) and Dennis Kowalski (President of the Cryonics Institute).
There is quite a great deal of material around, but not all of it is ideally suited for Australia. The major challenge for Australia is that we have large distances and a relatively small population. Most of the population is centered in a few larger coastal cities. This means that standby needs to have the capability of being at the patient’s bedside, at the very least in each major city. From there, have the capability of transferring the patient to a central location (nominally Sydney) for further transport either to a local facility or to a US facility. Additionally, due to the smaller population, standby requirements are significantly less frequent than more populated countries so the process must be readily applicable even after long periods of inactivity. The network being developed has three stages of standby groups all coordinated by a central group/person. The plan is that each of these groups will have the tools, training and equipment to handle a successful standby.
The first step is notification. CSA will handle the standby coordination of activities for cryonics clients.
The various resources and activities at each stage are:
These are non professionals. I would hope that some of the laypersons attending the Aaron Drake training may volunteer. This group would have very fundamental training. Essentially, they may be the closest and the first on the scene at a patient’s hospital bed. In many cases, they may even personally know the patient.
Without getting into the details their key role would be:
- Talking with hospital staff to explain the situation and seek cooperation, assuming this has not been done beforehand.
- If time is of the essence, trying to obtain official death notification.
- After legal death, perhaps setting up a heart thumper for circulation or, at the very least, applying preliminary ice cooling, particularly to the head.
- They may even provide some very basic assistance to the stage 2 personnel.
The degree of involvement of this group will depend upon the urgency of the patient’s condition and how much time there has been for preparation.
Under more normal circumstances, this will be the primary group to attend to the patient, even though a stage 1 person may be there. This group will likely be the professional funeral home contacts located in each state, which will be coordinated by the central funeral home in Sydney or Melbourne. We have good relationships with funeral homes in both cities and they have the capability to reach out to all the main capitals. These contacts can be on the scene very shortly after notification. Their main task is to prepare the patient for transport to Sydney. Some of their activities may be possible in the hospital and some at their local funeral home, depending upon the relationship with the hospital.
The key activities are:
- Hospital staff coordination
- Death certification
- Cooling patient (ice bath temperature)
- Post mortum circulation renewal
- Transport to local funeral home for more preparation depending on what can be done at death location (usually hospital)
- Transport the patient to central funeral home in Sydney for stage 3 activities
- This group has a maximum of about 1-2 days to complete this stage.
This will be handled either by medical or funeral professionals at the central funeral home.
- Preparation and perfusion to dry ice pre-vitrification temperature; allows patient to be in this condition for up to 2 weeks and still obtain a good suspension
- Transportation in appropriate container to SSA or an overseas facility
As you would expect, this blog is only a very brief summary of the requirements. The detailed procedures for each of the stages, using an easy to follow structured approach which, includes photos and videos, is now being completed by adapting the material from Alcor, CI and the UK cryonics group and adapting for Australia. When completed, it will be made available on line and updated as necessary. The primary aim is to have a functioning network in Australia to handle standbys and to have available straightforward procedures that can be carried out on a simple step by step basis. Cryonics suspensions do not occur frequently, especially in Australia, so the procedures need to be easily understood and readily accessible to be applied at short notice.
What now needs to be done for the Standby Project includes:
- Check availability of medications in Australia
- Check equipment needs, availability and costing for Australia (some already done)
- Discuss with central funeral home in Sydney how to handle each state
- Discuss with local (in each state) potential non professionals
- Determine feasibility and costing of purchasing and/or creating dedicated standby kits
- Conduct additional training as appropriate
- Recycle the processes based on updated information
- Set up a register of cryonics clients in Australia together with their health condition and update over time. This may be useful for early warning of standby requirements.
There is still a lot of work to progress. I am expecting completion of most of this (i.e. to have a functioning network available in Australia) within the next year or so. In the meantime I will keep you updated on this blog.
Regards, Peter T