History of a Business Failure

Business success operates on increasing sales revenue and expanding market share; exponentially preferred. The current Business of Cryonics fit neither of these two criteria.

Cryonics current share of the dying and death market, which is a market in excess of $15 Billion annually, is embarrassingly minuscule at best; especially when the competition is a grave, crypt or furnace with an urn or at sea.

Cryonics current sales and revenue numbers seems to keep a few small foundations and institutes alive along with their limited staffs.

Expectations and “calls-to-action”; the question being “will I buy”?

  • Will I be preserved in an optimal state; a “gold standard”?
  • Probability considerations understood and believable?
  • Resuscitation that is financially feasible and life sustainable in 200 years?
  • Or, is it just Hocus Pocus? Is there really an expected value that justifies the expenditure requested?

Who is your market?

It is not the member who will be alive for the next 30 or 40 years. It is not the member who pays dues for a few years and then, like a high percentage of whole life insurance clients, drops out where Lapse rates on a face amount basis were 5.0% annually. So, 10 years into originally written whole life policies, expect about 50% to have lapsed. You would also expect little original participation in Cryonics Membership after 20 years.

These members require too much in the way of sales time and expensive resources to close and maintain; with then small initial returns. These potential members are not “urgent buyers”. They have too many personal incentives to just wait another year or five or more. Membership dues are priced to high for long term members and much better wrapped into a life insurance premium. Expected long term members pay the same per year as expected short term members. Membership dues are a bargain for the near terminal and a great burden for the young members; all being offered at the same pricing structure. The insurance policy is what seems to be a bargain for the youth. But, again they are not the “urgent” ones.

Your market is the terminally ill. These are your “Urgent Buyers”

The faulty process

To illustrate the necessity of a rapid response and immediate provision of profusion and verification within the hospital with hospital staff cooperative efforts; please read this next to worst case scenario where the legally disease patient’s body is handled buy a local funeral director prior to cooling and transport.

Funeral Director’s Guidelines

Cryonicists and cryonics patients regard clinical death as potentially reversible in the future. These people are regarded as patients, and it is important that action be timely and appropriate. But because the "patients" are legally dead, and because of certain skills and connections, it is appropriate that some of the post-mortem procedures, including transportation, be handled or arranged by “funeral directors”.

If the hospital has not administered heparin, then the funeral director should do so through a readily-accessible vein. If possible, ask the hospital to leave in I.V. lines or to insert an I.V. line post-mortem if a line in not already in place. If there are no I.V. lines in place, attempt to access a large superficial vein in the arm or hand, preferably the largest superficial veins of the arm (the antecubital veins). If a cut-down of tissue is necessary to expose a vein, please be careful not to damage blood vessels.

Once a vein is accessible, inject the heparin. Heparin will prevent blood clotting and make the blood washout much easier in the Cryonics Facility once the patient arrives. Use 40,000 units of heparin intravenously. Use CPR-like chest compressions for 5 to 15 minutes after injection to circulate the heparin. The more chest compressions that can be given the better as vigorous chest compressions are good because circulating the heparin is of greater importance than the risk that ribs will be broken.

When removing a patient from the place of death we ask that you have at least a couple of bags of ice (about 15 lbs) with you so that they can be placed around the patient's head to cool the brain while the patient is being transported to the funeral home. An "ice pillow" of crushed ice under the patient's head and another covering the patient's face provides better cooling. The best cooling is with ice water rather than with ice cubes. If feasible placing the patient into a body bag filled with un-bagged ice and some water will give good cooling.

At the funeral home, cooling with ice must continue while arrangements are made for transport to the Cryonics facility.

Shipment requires a Ziegler shipping container, a vinyl body pouch, an air tray with cover and ice. This can be ready beforehand or quickly prepared when needed. If shipment will not require more than half a day, it will be adequate to use a Ziegler box placed inside of a cardboard box on a standard "air tray" without insulation. If shipment is expected to take longer, fiberglass wool insulation should be placed around the Ziegler and then covered with the cardboard cover to help insulate the container.

The patient should be placed in the body pouch and then placed in the Ziegler shipping container. A bag of ice should be placed under the patient's head and then the patient should then be completely covered with ice. The ice should be checked, and replenished if needed, before the patient is taken to the airport. Our goal is to keep the patient as cold as possible during transport without actually freezing the patient. Freezing damages blood vessels, making perfusion impossible. The patient, ice and Ziegler can be placed in an above-freezing walk-in cooler, if available, to make the ice last longer while making flight arrangements and filing paperwork. Ensure that the patient is not exposed to subzero (winter) temperatures outdoors or indoors.

AS you can see, this is not the correct path to a “gold standard” of cryopreservation of the patient?

Now, for Transportation?

Direct flights to the metropolitan area of the cryonics facility are of course the best option. There is usually a 500 pound limit for human remains on narrow-bodied aircraft, but for wide- bodied aircraft it is possible to pay extra for shipments over 500 pounds

Timely shipment of cryonics patients is a critical problem. It can easily happen that a standby team can respond immediately after pronouncement of death with CardioPulmonary Support, rapid cool-down, blood replacement with organ preservation solution, etc — but if cardiac arrest has occurred on a Friday afternoon and the cryonics patient was not in the Area of the Cryonics storage and lab facility, the patient would likely wait on ice the entire weekend before shipping permits could be obtained.

If a cryonics patient deanimates outside North America a flight cannot be arranged before approval for shipment has been received from the American Consulate, which usually means that even in the best of circumstances approval and flight cannot occur on the same day. Newer regulations requiring delivery of original documents (rather than FAXed documents) to the American Consulate have slowed the approval process. Weekends and holidays add to the delay.

Typically, the death certificate must be filed and a transit permit must be issued by a government agency (the health department often issues the transit permits) which is only open on business days during business hours. The offices of medical examiners are often open until noon on Saturday, so it is sometimes possible to get a coroner to issue a transit permit on a Saturday morning.

Regulations specific to states, counties and cities within the United States can vary, often creating additional problems and less often making things easier. CI's 75th patient deanimated on a weekend in a Chicago hospital. But Chicago regulations do not allow removal of a body from a hospital until the death certificate has been filed. The death certificate could only be signed by the family physician, and the family physician could not be reached on the weekend or soon enough for filing to be made before Tuesday. A similar problem happened with CI's 82nd patient who was in a jurisdiction where the family physician needed to sign the death certificate before it could be filed. In that case the family physician was on vacation. The physician was finally located, and she authorized someone else in her clinic to sign the death certificate. On the other hand, CI's 84th patient deanimated on a Saturday, but was fortunate enough to be in a jurisdiction where the funeral director could issue the transit permit — so she was shipped from Boston on the weekend.

Alcor can often circumvent the transit permit problem by removing the head of a neuro patient and shipping the head to Alcor while the body waits for the transit permit. The head is regarded as a tissue sample, and does not require a transit permit to cross state lines. The Cryonics Institute does not offer a "neuro" option, therefore every CI patient not living in Michigan must wait for a transit permit to be shipped.

On rare occasions authorities at a local airport can impose additional problems, as happened in the case with CI's 82nd patient when an airport official refused to allow shipment if a single ice cube was found in the shipping container. The patient had to be shipped with cold gel packs.

Typically a cryonics patient is shipped in a Ziegler case (a water-tight metallic shipping box used by funeral directors) that contains the patient in a body bag that is stuffed with as much ice as possible. The Ziegler case is lined on the inside with foam insulation. Ice is also loaded outside the body bag. The Ziegler has a rubber gasket around the lid, and the lid is screwed tight on the ribber gasket to prevent leakage of water. The Ziegler sits on a wooden air-tray (air shipping tray) and is surrounded by a cardboard box. Pink "wool" insulation should be stuffed between the cardboard box and the Ziegler to prevent water condensation on the Ziegler from wetting the cardboard (and to further insulate the patient).

The cardboard box on the air-tray should be marked "Do Not Freeze". CI's 87th patient was frozen when received, which made perfusion difficult because freezing damages blood vessels. When perfusion is not possible a patient may be shipped in dry ice, as was the case with CI's 80th patient. When shipping a cryonics patient by airline on dry ice, shipping regulations allow no more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of dry ice. Containers with dry ice cannot be shipped in the same cargo hold as pets or biological materials that could be suffocated.

Every effort should be made to arrange direct flights in shipping a cryonics patient. CI's 87th patient was shipped to Detroit from Melbourne, Australia, spending an hour at the Sydney airport, six hours at the Los Angeles airport and seven-and-a-half hours at the Chicago airport before arriving in Michigan.

There are three directories that list national (and some international) funeral director services; the Red Book, the Yellow Book, and the Blue Book. Two categories listed are "Shipping/embalming services" and "Transportation of human remains", the only difference between the two being whether embalming is part of the package. The shipping companies file the necessary documents, make arrangements with airlines, and provide air-trays as well as other equipment.

Patient care is best for cryonics patients who do not need to cross national or interstate borders in order to be cryopreserved. But few cryonicists choose to leave their family, friends and local home, hospital or hospice when they are in a terminal condition. Cryonicists living outside the United States often think that they can move to the US if they become terminal, but the US immigration authorities create problems for visitors wanting to come to the US when in a terminal condition or afflicted with obvious health problems. CI struggled with this issue for one of their overseas patients who deanimated before they could get to the bottom of the matter.

Within the United States, although a terminally ill person could not travel on a conventional airline, such a person could use an air ambulance. The company US Air Ambulance offers not only air ambulance, but ground ambulance service. Charges are on a per-mile basis, and for long distances an air ambulance could be less expensive than a ground ambulance.

When human patients (or pet patients) are shipped on dry ice, there must be a vent hole in the shipping container. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide, and as it warms it turns into a gas. If there is no vent hole, the pressure will build up and make the container burst. More likely the container will swell and pressure will escape around the seals, but a vent hole of about a quarter inch in diameter should be made on the top of the container to ensure the gas can escape. When CI receives patients from Europe in dry ice they often have a pressure releasing device, such as a check valve, placed in the top of the casket to relieve pressure. If there is no check valve, a quarter inch hole drilled in the top of the shipping container will ensure that there is no dangerous build-up of pressure.

There are now plans by various overseas cryonicists to vitrify overseas and ship in dry ice. Dry ice shipment might be adequate if there is good perfusion with CI−VM−1, but if perfusion does not achieve good saturation the prospect of devitrification (freezing) with dry ice shipment increases. Shipping in liquid nitrogen from overseas would be expensive and difficult. Shipment would have to be by boat and someone would need to accompany the shipping cryostat/dewar to ensure that the liquid nitrogen does not boil-off, or that other problems occur.

In Europe both F.A. Albin & Sons and Rowland Brothers International have had experience with shipping cryonics patients to the United States.

According to the Hazardous Materials office of the International Air Transport Association (IATA Hazmat is located in Montreal, Canada), maximum allowed dry ice on an airplane is 200 kilograms per package, with no limit on the number of packages. Individual airlines have total maximums allowable for any one flight. Continental airlines, for example, will allow up to 1,000 kilograms on their Boeing 777. Delta airlines, which have the most direct flights to Detroit airport, will allow up to 100 kilograms on their narrow-bodied aircraft and up to 200 kilograms on their wide-bodied aircraft. Good insulation means, in part, foam board insulation between the air tray and the Ziegler shipping box, as well as on the sides of the Ziegler case on the outside. "Thermal ballast" means water ice pre-cooled to dry ice temperature that is added to dry ice inside the Ziegler case.

An airline in the United States may require a Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods. Dry ice is classified as a dangerous good. The FedEx Dangerous Goods Non-Radioactive Acceptance Checklist can be helpful in completing this form. For dry ice, the proper shipping name will be "carbon dioxide, solid". Dry ice is class 9, UN number UN1845, packing number 111, and should have packing instruction 904.

All this shipping non-sense aside:

A worst case scenario is sudden death on the golf course followed by a mandated autopsy.

What we have here is a nightmare for anyone considering putting forth any funds to capture this immortality dream.

This is why the member / patient will be best served if they can pre-plan their exact time of departure through assisted suicide (euthanasia) and then be attended to by a cryonics trained hospital staff right up to and including the cooling and cold-packaging for shipment (if needed). Even better yet, have the cryo-preservation and storage facilities in very close proximity to the patient’s hospital bedside.

Try convincing a recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s patient (who will surely be terminal in 6 to 8 years) to await their legal death after a complete brain deterioration? You’re going to try to convince that person into buying into a cryopreservation available ONLY after their legally pronounced death? Who are you kidding”?

We do not intend to mask this conundrum in moral or ethical issues. What is needed to carry out a “gold standard” of preservation, if a cryonics future is chosen by the patient beforehand, is that the choice should be unencumbered and supported with medical care flexibility and by favorable local medical regulations.

This gold standard platform will not be found by passing away in the USA or Europe. Think about it; is this a good choice to be selling? Are potential members and patients really going to buy into the above described faulty process?

It is the realization of the impossibility of attaining the gold standard of Cryopreservation and the constrained choice options that the member / patient faces under the western legal regime that places a lid on a potential exponential expansion in membership numbers and actual yearly cryopreservations.

Terminally ill patients are more likely to form much higher expectations and respond immediately to “calls-to-action”.

The question “will I buy” is an easier one for this group to quickly answer and more immediately profitable for the Cryonics provider.

Again, to date, around 2,000 people signed-up for cryonics membership and approximately 250 people currently are Cryopreserved since industry inception.

That is a business failure!