For sick people with degenerative brain diseases awaiting clinical death
before cryonic suspension, every day of waiting decreases the integrity of
the brain structures that cryonics will freeze into place. In such
circumstances, near-term voluntary euthanasia followed by rapid cryonic
suspension would offer the best hope for retaining optimal neural health.
Yet the law does not allow this in the USA. And any cryonics organization
that engaged in such a practice could expect criminal and civil lawsuits
almost certain to bankrupt it and possibly imprison its staff.
However, a recent decision by the Montana Supreme Court may change this
situation for citizens of that state. In an abortion case (James H.
Armstrong, M.D. v. The State of Montana, October 1999) the Court went beyond
the issues in the case at hand to render a much broader decision regarding
an individual's right to choose medical care in consultation with a health
professional. Writing for the 6-2 majority, Justice James C. Nelson held
that: "The Montana Constitution broadly guarantees each individual the right
to make medical judgments affecting her or his bodily integrity and health
in partnership with a chosen health care provider free from government
Dissenting Chief Justice J. A. Turnage wrote that: "...the Court's opinion
sweeps so broadly as to encompass and decide such issues as the right to
physician-assisted suicide and other important health and medical-related
issues which simply were not litigated in the case."
I am not an attorney, but this sounds to me like a real opportunity. Someone
in Montana could arrange for his or her brain metabolism to be arrested by a
medical professional in cooperation with a cryonics suspension team, which
would obviate the current, legally-necessary process for a doctor to declare
the patient brain-dead before the suspension team can go to work.
Can anyone with competencies in law and cryonics comment on this?
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:10:28 MDT