Re: Cryonics on ABC World News Tonight

From: Jeff Davis (
Date: Mon Feb 12 2001 - 22:10:52 MST


Eugene Leitl wrote:

>If cryonics works, we're seeing medical malpractice on an
>unprecedented scale. I shudder to think how many people have
>been erased irretrievably in the last decades. This is a lot
>worse than ignoring sulfa or antibiotics.

Hmmm. This suggests an alternate, more aggressive approach to promoting
cryonics. A class action lawsuit with defendants: the entire medical
profession and the rest of the public and private health care
infrastructure, plaintiffs: the survivors of all the unsuspended dead.
Nothing like a big bucks lawsuit pointed directly at your cushy assets to
snap you back and get you real serious real fast. The easy ridicule and
dismissive nonchalance might begin to show some strain with Johnny Cochran
and Allen Dershowitz talking about damage amounts in the TRILLIONS of
dollars. I'm not saying there's any chance to win, but I'm looking at a
BIG jump in public awareness of the underlying issues.

When the medicos have exhausted their repertoire of 'established'
therapies, and it's get-your-affairs-in-order time, isn't it a failure of
informed consent for them to not tell you about an available last-ditch
option? (Probably 'informed consent' isn't the right legal theory, but you
get my drift.)

Some time back I came across this article at:

>Purdue News
> February 2000
>Polymer repairs nerve damage
> in animals with spinal injuries
> WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. A brief application of a
> polymer commonly used in medicine and cosmetics has
> been shown to immediately repair damaged nerve
> membranes in live guinea pigs with severe spinal cord
> injuries.
> The polymer, called polyethylene glycol or PEG, works
> by "fusing" the membranes of damaged nerve cells, and it
> can be applied up to eight hours after the injury without
> adversely affecting the patient's recovery.


> PEG is a nontoxic, water-soluble polymer widely used in
> medicine and cosmetics. In the study, Borgens and his
> team applied the substance across a region of the guinea
> pig's crushed spinal cord.
> "In most spinal cord injuries in animals and in people, the
> spinal cord is not completely severed, but is more likely to
> be crushed," he says. "It is this crushing or compression of
> the spinal cord that causes the nerve fibers to develop
> holes in their membranes, which ultimately leads to cell
> death and separation of the nerve fiber within 24 to 72
> hours. If the nerve fibers separate, or otherwise do not
> conduct impulses, paralysis will occur."
> PEG was applied for two minutes, then removed. One
> group of animals received the application immediately
> after the injury, while a second group of animals was
> treated with PEG eight hours after the injury. Following
> the PEG applications, all the animals were tested to
> measure their ability to conduct nerve impulses through the
> spinal cord and to gauge their recovery of functional
> behavior.
> Nerve impulses through the spinal cord were measured by
> stimulating a nerve in the hind leg and determining whether
> and when the impulses arrived at the brain.
> Of the 47 guinea pigs used in the study, all 25 of the
> animals that received PEG were able to recover some
> nerve conduction from 20 percent to 50 percent
> within 15 minutes after PEG was applied. Measurements
> taken days and weeks later showed that, in addition, the
> nerve conduction recovery continued to improve up to
> one month after the initial treatment.
> Of the 22 animals that did not receive PEG, not one
> animal recovered the ability to conduct nerve impulses
> through the spinal cord, Borgens says.

I was impressed by the hopeful nature of this finding, so
I dashed off a little note to the heads of Neurosurgery at several leading
medical establishments, Mass General, Walter Reed, Stanford, etc,
suggesting that they might have some legal vulnerability if, knowing of the
above treatment possibility, they failed to inform any spinal cord injury
patients that might thereafter come through their door, of that
potential--though unproven--therapy. As you might imagine, I got some
quick and some very angry responses. I had hoped that as a result of
having been provably notified, they would respond by finding a way to speed
up the therapeutic evaluation of the peg application technique (for all I
know they may have done just that). But I can say that, beyond question, I
got their attention.

Thus my suggestion that a malpractice lawsuit for failure to notify,
inform, recommend, or apply cryonic suspension as a 'final meliorative
clinical intervention against irreversible morbidity'.

Let's see Peter Jennings smirk at that!

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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