From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Steven B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Cryonics in NY?
Date: 29 Aug 1996
I seem to see my name taken in vain in this thread.
In <dcosenzaDwvrwo.AsH@netcom.com> email@example.com (hEpCaT)
>> Alcor's decision to move into the site it chose has turned out to
be obviously successful (Harris & Kent wanted them to move into a
building that was literally next to a junk yard!). <<
Readers should pay no attention to Cosenza here, as he has no idea
what he's talking about, as usual. He obviously never saw the building
in question (though you'd think so to hear him talk). I did see it,
and more than that, I recorded my visit. I have just reviewed the
Sept 3, 1993 videotape I made of the area surrounding the building
being spoken of (leased at the time by Classic Thermographics near Deer
Valley, AZ), and the building is in a nice industrial division, fronted
by desert (with an airport in the distance), and surrounded by
industrial buildings and desert lots with sagebrush. There are no junk
yards in sight from the structure. I heard later that it was possible
for the opposition to locate a junk car lot in the same industrial area
down the block, but then it was possible for me to locate a police
substation in the area also. Given that Alcor finally decided to move
into a building which they shared with a beer distributorship, I don't
think that a classy front was ever exactly the issue-- although you'd
think so from reading the comment which began this posting. And with
Cosenza, truth is not the issue. Never has been.
A copy of the video as proof of what I say is available to any
interested parties. The issue, of course, is not this long irrelevent
set of building appraisals, so much as it is Cosenza's penchant for
convenient inacuracy when he thinks he can get away with it. Maybe if
you want to spread falsehoods about my past actions, Cosenza, you'd
have better luck posting on a forum I do not read.
From: "Steven B. Harris" <71450.1773@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Cosenza Alternate History
Date: 30 Aug 1996
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Date: 30 Aug 96 03:16:32 EDT
From: "Steven B. Harris" <71450.1773@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS:Cosenza Alternate History
In message #6817 email@example.com (Wed, 28 Aug 1996) writes:
>>The "funny" message from Steve Harris ND (I guess that stands
for nattering dolt) wasn't the least bit ammusing. I think my
sense of humor is as broad-minded or even moreso than most, but I
just can't figure out why anyone associated with CryoCare would
be doing anything other than keeping a low profile after the way
Timothy was treated.<<
Timothy Leary was treated the way he wanted to be treated,
actually. For instance, I personally set him up with the hospice
program that kept him mostly pain free on good narcotics for the
last months of this life. For this he thanked me, his family
thanked me, his friends thanked me. As for cryonics, I couldn't
convince Tim to stay signed up at the end. He was bored with the
concept by that time, and at the end of his life didn't feel much
obliged to do anything he didn't want to do, and which wasn't fun
any more. Speaking of which, Tim actually thought he was looking
at a lot more time for fun than he was to get in reality, BTW. I
told him differently, but he didn't believe me. It's the
privilege of patients not to believe their doctors about such
things, but it's usually not terribly wise.
Cosenza: >>Dignifying the tabloid stories with redistribution
in places where those stories will be read by friends of their
victims is utterly classless.<<
Cosenza is figuring that friends of Leary will read this AP
press release on the net in sci.cryonics, but miss it elsewhere?
Sure they will. And that then, even knowing what an ultimate
publicity hound Leary was to the very core of his being, Leary's
friends will be offended by the natural outcome of this bit of
theater which Leary himself undertook in life? Sure they will.
What can I say to this chain of concepts, except that it appears
that Cosenza's elevator does not go all the way to the top?
>> But, I guess this isn't surprising coming from a man who
apparently still sees nothing wrong with talking terminally-ill
people into spending their suspension funding on pointless
medical care so that they end up in ashes or buried in the ground
(as he did a few years ago with one particular Alcor member). By
comparison, I don't think anyone at Alcor has been "unkind".<<
Cosenza then goes on to elaborate on this incident in sci.cry-
onics post <dcosenzaDwxF7n.8uM@netcom.com>:
>>... one of the "minor" controversies just before the Alcor
split involved an AIDS patient in Flordia who ended up cancelling
his suspension arrangements after interaction with Harris. As I
remember the argument, Harris at the time was in disagreement
with Alcor people over the value of getting this man frozen
versus getting him medical care. I think any good competent
non-cryonicist doctor should have such an attitude. But from the
perspective of cryonics, a few months of extra quality life in
exchange for the chance at immortality is a pretty harsh
deal. This is just a difference of opinion over values. <<
First, let me be first to note that the idea of D. Cosenza
expounding on *values* is sort of like the idea of Herr Joseph
Goebbels holding forth on the benefits of a kosher kitchen. It's
such a brain-stretcher that it puts one in mind of certain
alternate universe stories.
Be that as it may, those non-space cadets who share planet
Earth with Yours Truly may be interested in the facts of what
happened in the incident referred to above, since it does bring
up what has potential to be a very difficult situation in
cryonics. To wit: what if one does have to choose between paying
for a suspension *now* (yours), VERSUS using the same money to
escape an acutely deadly medical situation, perhaps betting on
being able to recoup finances later if you survive? And always
remembering that a later suspension, other things being equal,
will be a better suspension, as technology improves?
Of course there is no single right answer in such situations,
for the decision matrix depends on the odds of all kinds of
events, plus all kinds of personal value judgments about the
desirability of such events. It's even more difficult in the
case of what you do if you are acutely ill and can't think
straight, or are comatose. In this case you might want to take
legal steps to leave the decision in the hands of someone you
trust. In that case, your *decision,* according to your VALUES,
would be to leave the *deciding* to someone else you have chosen
Which is what the man with AIDS in Florida had done, as it
turns out, having taken the trust fund that was supposed to be
left to Alcor for his freezing, and signed it over (in relative
secrecy) instead to his mother. All this in strict violation of
his agreement with Alcor, and with Alcor policy.
Thus it was that when it came to the point that this man was
dying in the hospital of a quite treatable (but untreated)
bacterial infection, Alcor did not know that it would not likely
be paid if he died and they froze him, and so they sent a
cryonics team across the country to stand by. Since the patient
was incoherent, a representative of Alcor asked me, as a then-
member of Alcor, to talk (long distance) to the man's doctors and
then to his mother. I did this. After which I told the mother
the truth, which was that the Florida doctors (no connection to
Alcor) were doing nothing for her son, and that if she wanted her
son to leave the hospital alive she would have to make changes in
his care. Which she then did, allowing him to survive the
episode. It is not my fault that when the Alcor representatives
arrived at the hospital after a cross-country flight, the mother
concluded that they were vultures in cahoots with the do-nothing
doctors. I, as an Alcor member at the time, didn't say or imply
this. Had the mother years ago had any way to read Cosenza's
1996 post about me being "at the time in disagreement with Alcor
people over the value of getting this man frozen versus getting
him medical care," she would perhaps have been more justified as
to what she did. In reality, nothing close to such disagreement
came until later, and that in hindsight. At the time, Alcor was
merely embarrassed at being thrown out of the hospital room (and
vaguely angry at me about it), and still later even more embarra-
ssed that they had almost frozen a man with no funding (something
they've done by mistake several times). If the truth were told,
at the time the AIDS patient under discussion was in the hospit-
al, Alcor did not know enough to push for better medical care of
this man, or worse. They were simply out of the loop.
This is not to say that Alcor ever thanked me, even though it
was they who had asked me to find out the truth and assume the
role of physician. But the mother did thank me, and the patient
later did also, after he got out of the hospital, both by phone
and in a long letter critical of Alcor's behavior. This man was
an author who was grateful to have the chance to see his book
published, a book which he thought would give him some money and
some life. When Alcor later naturally demanded that he fix his
funding so that they would not have to deal with his mother in
the future, he dropped his cryonics policy entirely. I advised,
even begged, him to stay signed up with Alcor (CryoCare not being
in existence then), but he said that he had quite a while more to
live, and that there would be lots of time for that. I told him
as a doctor that this was unrealistic, but he didn't believe me.
So it goes. He died something like a year later, and wasn't
Certain parties at Alcor, just as Cosenza does, blamed *me*
for the fact that the AIDS man had dropped his Alcor membership
(nevermind the fact that there is no good evidence he ever had
any reasonable chance to be, and stay, frozen). And they blamed
me the more later when he didn't get frozen. Deja vu-- it's the
Leary case all over again. The problem is that as a physician--
cryonics physician or not-- it's my ethical job to give people
choices, and Alcor sometimes has not liked the choices these
people have made. That kind of thing more than three years ago
was part of what ultimately let me know that I, and those who ran
Alcor, had come to a philosophical parting of the ways. It had
become clear that we could never look at cryonics in the same
way, and would have to be part of different cryonics
organizations so long as any of us had any say about cryonics at
all. And that's part of the story of the founding of CryoCare in
the Fall of 1993, which happened many months after the incident
we speak of (and incidentally, at a time when the man with AIDS
spoken of by Cosenza was still alive and feeling well, and
enjoying his book-signing parties).
Steven B. Harris, M.D.
From: "Steven B. Harris" <71450.1773@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: More History (pt I)
Date: 02 Sep 1996
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Date: 01 Sep 96 17:08:14 EDT
From: "Steven B. Harris" <71450.1773@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS:More History (pt I)
Now that D. Cosenza has put his foot in it about Alcor's 1993
Florida AIDS case and my involvement, out comes his companion
Carlos Mondragon, claiming to have more knowledge of the history
in question. Unfortunately, however, Mondragon's recall for
events isn't any better than Cosenza's. All that comes through
newly in Mondragon's version is that he thought he was *running*
the show that he doesn't remember. It's good that he doesn't
take himself seriously, as he reports. He doesn't deserve to be
by anybody else, either.
Carlos Mondragon <72603.2754@CompuServe.COM>
message-ID: <email@example.com> writes:
>>I was very sorry that Dave Cosenza mentioned the case of the
Florida man who had been signed up with Alcor and is now
consigned to oblivion. Somehow, I'd managed not to think about
him for some time. (For those who don't know, I was Alcor's CEO
at the time, I had never "lost" anybody until then, and this
episode was quite painfull). Knowing that four years can make
holes in one's memory, I asked others for their recollections and
checked my correspondence with Steve Harris. I wish Harris had
taken the time to do the same. <<
Comment: Of course I did, and that is why the holes in Mr.
Mondragon's memory are so obvious to me. To begin with,
Mondragon was NOT the CEO of Alcor in February 1993 when these
events occurred, although he seems to be under the odd delusion
that he was. Steve Bridge had been elected CEO late in 1992, and
took office the next January. I dealt with Bridge and the
suspension team on this case, as my journal makes clear.
Mondragon seems to have a bad case of the "Alexander Hague
syndrome," thinking he was in charge possibly because the
then-president of Alcor didn't happen to be at his desk at that
time, for a day or two. But Mondragon is mistaken; this, after
all, is the age of communications.
Second, the self-serving idea that Mondragon had never "lost"
anyone when he was CEO, is quite odd also. For those who know
the history, a somewhat analogous case during Mondragon's tenure
as CEO had involved an elderly women (J.C.) who had been a
dedicated cryonicist until developing dementia, and then decided
to drop her Alcor contract. Alcor, under Mondragon, went to
court about this, and lost. I believe that Mondragon himself
then made the decision not to spend continued money on appeals--
all conveniently forgotten for the sake of debate. I'm not
criticizing this difficult decision, only noting that the episode
seems (most charitable interpretation) not to have made much
impression on Mondragon. This lady was lost to membership like
the Florida AIDS man was, and Leary was, and died after some
delay and hand-wringing, without getting frozen. Given its track
record for doing so, I'm amazed in retrospect that Alcor found
nobody to blame for this episode; there's always a villain when
somebody changes their minds about wanting cryonics, don't you
>> In his reply to Dave, Harris makes an utterly useless
ad hominem attact peppered with cute insults, then follows with a
non-denial denial of the story Dave told, and he obfuscates it in
an avalanch of mostly irrelevant verbiage.<<
Comment: Perhaps I should have used short words for the
benefit of Mondragon. Here's a 7th grade reader synopsis:
1) Cosenza says I convinced a man to spend his cryonics money on
useless medical care.
2) I point out the man was delirious, and didn't have any money
assigned to cryonics care. His money was in trust to his mother,
who did not understand nor like cryonicists (more on this below).
This was the way the man wanted it. I point out that the man
recovered after I convinced the mother to fire his doctors (and
keep him in the hospital). I point out that the man and his
mother were grateful for my help, and had plenty of opportunity
later to sign up for cryonics in the proper way, but did not. I
deny having anything to do with this decision. I deny that my
intervention had anything to do with this decision. I have
written testimony from the patient that my intervention had
nothing to do with this decision.
There-- is that so difficult?
> Be that as it may, those non-space cadets who share planet
>Earth with Yours Truly may be interested in the facts of what
>happened in the incident referred to above, since it does bring
>up what has potential to be a very difficult situation in
>cryonics. To wit: what if one does have to choose between paying
>for a suspension *now* (yours), VERSUS using the same money to
>escape an acutely deadly medical situation, perhaps betting on
>being able to recoup finances later if you survive? And always
>remembering that a later suspension, other things being equal,
>will be a better suspension, as technology improves?
To which Mondragon replies:
>>Better suspension technology is only a vaguely realistic
possibility if the potential added lifespan can be measured in
years. A few months aren't going to make any difference (unless
perhaps Harris thinks that the NIH has been secretly working on
suspended animation and that they may release their findings at
Comment: Suspension technology improves continuously, and
since most of the breakthroughs these days are made at the lab I
work at, not Alcor, it's not difficult to imagine how Mondragon
feels they never come. They won't come for him, perhaps. As for
the NIH, they may not be working on suspension, but they are
working on most of the diseases that cause people to need
suspension, and you never know what will happen with any of them.
This research is also relevant. For example, the Florida Alcor
member had AIDS, and lived a year (I believe) after his brush
with death. In a year, there is a chance that some vastly
improved treatment might be found for AIDS (in fact, this
happened LAST year--- too bad it didn't in 1993). The hope of
such improvements is often a bad thing to bet your life on
entirely by dropping cryonics coverage (as the Florida case
shows, and as I told the man myself), but the hope of medical
progress always factors into a decision of whether to be frozen
now or later, which was my only point.
As I said, such decisions are complicated, and it's easy to
say somebody did something wrong in retrospect. It's not always
easy at the time to know what is right. Example: During
Mondragon's tenure as CEO, Alcor got multiple calls from a
depressed and suicidal member wanting advice on how to kill
himself. Though the man had no terminal illness, Alcor
obligingly told him that if he was going to kill himself, it
should be by voluntary starvation, so he wouldn't be autopsied.
The man grew impatient, however, shot himself in the head, and
was autopsied. Alcor duly flew to Texas, picked up his perfora-
ted brain, and froze it. Question: Is it beyond the pale of
possibility that this man might have eventually gotten a better
suspension (nevermind the technology improvement) had Alcor found
a psychiatrist to commit him for treatment? Did Alcor "save"
him, or not? I don't know. Alcor thinks they did, I'm sure.
Similarly, the Florida man with AIDS was hospitalized not only
with infection, but also on suspicion of Tylenol suicide attempt,
and if THIS man had died, as a "suicide" he might well have been
an autopsied coroner's case as well. I suppose that this
possibility was okay with Alcor, since my journals show that I
immediately caught flak for even seeming to interfere with the
death. When the man got out of the hospital without being
autopsied, I wasn't thanked by Alcor for helping to give this man
another chance at a non-autopsied suspension, I suspect, because
Alcor doesn't particularly worry about premature death, so long
as they get their brain, and their money, NOW. Afterall, a
frozen person is a safe person, right?
Actually, since Mr. Mondragon is not convinced that a few
years means anything in terms of suspension quality, I'm amazed
that he hasn't been advocating that Alcor's very elderly members
starve themselves immediately, in order to insure a suspension
while they're sure they have their wits and their cryonics money.
> Which is what the man with AIDS in Florida had done, as it
>turns out, having taken the trust fund that was supposed to be
>left to Alcor for his freezing, and signed it over (in relative
>secrecy) instead to his mother. All this in strict violation of
>his agreement with Alcor, and with Alcor policy.
> Thus it was that when it came to the point that this man was
>dying in the hospital of a quite treatable (but untreated)
>bacterial infection, Alcor did not know that it would not likely
>be paid if he died and they froze him, and so they sent a
>cryonics team across the country to stand by. Since the patient
>was incoherent, a representative of Alcor asked me, as a then-
>member of Alcor, to talk (long distance)to the man's doctors and
>then to his mother.
>>NO, this didn't happen. It was Saul Kent that asked Harris
to get involved. Kent was NOT a "representative of Alcor" and at
the time everyone knew that.<<
Comment: Yes, this DID happen, and Saul Kent had nothing to do
with first contact. The first time I was called about the case
was by Tanya Jones, as my diary makes clear, on Saturday, Feb 13,
1993. Tanya was the leader of the Alcor suspension team, a
representative of Alcor. Later I called Steve Bridge, CEO, about
the case, and was later called BY Steve about the case. Mondra-
gon didn't call me, true enough, but then Mondragon wasn't in
charge at the time. He only thinks he was. At the end of this
reply I'll append an extract of a long letter about the events,
written 10 days after the fact and incorporating extracts of my
daily diary entries, just as I sent it to email to Steve Bridge
and the Alcor board of directors.
All this is embarrassing for Alcor, of course, but that's the
chance Mondragon and Cosenza when they bring such criticisms of
others' behavior in suspensions to bear in public. If I was
Alcor, I'd cancel the both of them-- the negative publicity isn't
worth it (say, has Cosenza threatened to tell the police there is
cocaine in the dewers lately?) I suppose with these latest nasty
accusations, we're getting a pre-taste here on this forum of just
how Alcor will run when Steve Bridge leaves as CEO in January.
Al Hague syndrome again, Mondragon? Figure you're back in charge
while Steve is out this weekend at WorldCon? When the lame
duck's away, the mice will play-- if you'll pardon the mixed
>I did this. After which I told the mother
>the truth, which was that the Florida doctors (no connection to
>Alcor) were doing nothing for her son, and that if she wanted
>her son to leave the hospital alive she would have to make
>changes in his care. Which she then did, allowing him to
>survive the episode.
Mondragon: NO, the patient was recovering *before* Harris
managed to piss off the doctor and re-alienate the mother.
Comment: He was recovering by some standards (renal function)
before I intervened, but nobody knew it at the time, because the
lab tests hadn't been done. Whether he would have recovered
completely without changing his doctors, or without my prodding,
is not clear. The plan, before his mother raised a fuss at my
behest, was for her to take the man home, oliguric and infected,
without an IV. Hospice style, to die-- believe it. So maybe he
wouldn't have survived. Or perhaps he would have if they had
delayed discharge-- I'll admit it. But if THAT is so, I have
difficulty knowing what this furor is about-- Alcor had no chance
to freeze him anyway at that time. Nor was the reason that the
man ultimately didn't get frozen later, that he'd spent all his
money on medical care-- as I said, he had other reasons, some of
which I'll quote here on the forum from his letter to me, if this
debate keeps up. (I also have copies of official debriefing
letters from the suspension team leader and the Alcor CEO, which
generally corroborate my version of events, and these can be
quoted also, if necessary. More embarrassment for Alcor, but
what the hell...)
If the accusation against me is not that I actually got the
man's cryonics money spent on medical care, but rather that I
only *tried* to, I can only reply that the man wouldn't have
*been* in that ugly situation to begin with if his sign-up had
been done properly. Cryonics money for non-insured patients, in
order to be safe from medical bill estate-liens, or Medicaid
look-back, must be in an *irrevocable* trust. Which this man
obviously did not have. Interestingly, the previous CEO of Alcor
who had let this man sign up for cryonics without such a trust,
appears to be financial expert Carlos Mondragon. I suppose, Mr.
Mondragon, you just thought the man wouldn't ever *want* any more
expensive medical care? Or did you think at all? Whose
responsibility *was* this Florida mess, anyway, Mr. Mondragon?
Finally, as for re-alienating the man's mother from Alcor,
none was necessary. All the alienation needed happened when
the Alcor team brought the portable ice-bath into this
"recovering" man's hospital room, scaring the Hell out of him
(being delirious) and his mother (being ignorant). Alcor did
this screw-up all by itself, without any help from me. And, no,
there is no evidence that the mother ever calmed down from it.
Not in her son's letter to me, and not in what I wrote at the
time, with my understanding from having talked to the woman.
Alcor would love to think so, of course.
>It is not my fault that when the Alcor representatives
>arrived at the hospital after a cross-country flight, the mother
>concluded that they were vultures in cahoots with the do-nothing
>doctors. I, as an Alcor member at the time, didn't say or imply
>>A reaction of this kind is common at standby situations. We
have encountered it many times and we have learned to deal with
it with sensitivity. Alcor's Tanya Jones had managed to soften
the mother's attitude considerably-- until the lady got that call
Comment: This would be funny if the issues weren't so serious.
Again, as noted, the patient's mother arrived at the hospital to
find the sensitive Ms. Jones and the sensitive Alcor team all set
up in the hospital room to freeze what Mr. Mondragon has decided
was a recovering man. Which caused her to see them as vultures,
amazingly enough. Not even Alcor can blame me for this. Setting
up such equipment without PRIOR very close consultation with the
family is a gross error. Don't talk to ME about standby
protocol; Alcor had a bunch of novices out in Florida, and simply
screwed up. Yes, Alcor had good reason to have novices, because
its experienced suspension team leader had resigned three months
before. But be that as it may, Alcor's Florida problems here
were not due to ME. By attempting to lay them at my feet,
Cosenza and Mondgragon have now only succeeded in getting this
entire mess of Alcor incompetence out in public. They'd have
been better to leave well enough alone, but Cosenza absolutely
cannot control his hateful nature, can he?
>Had the mother years ago had any way to read Cosenza's
>1996 post about me being "at the time in disagreement with Alcor
>people over the value of getting this man frozen versus getting
>him medical care," she would perhaps have been more justified as
>to what she did. In reality, nothing close to such disagreement
>came until later, and that in hindsight. At the time, Alcor was
>merely embarrassed at being thrown out of the hospital room (and
>vaguely angry at me about it), and still later even more
>embarrassed that they had almost frozen a man with no funding
>(something they've done by mistake several times).
>> Alcor made that mistake exactly *once*. Disagreement in
"hindsight" means the morning after. We were not "merely
embarrased", we were outraged by Harris' intervention and much
more than "vaguely angry" at him.<<
What is this "we" stuff? Steve Bridge went on to offer
me a paid consultantcy. I wisely refused. As for certain other
parties who wanted to freeze somebody come hell or high water, I
suppose they *were* angry. So what? My job as a physician, even
a cryonics physician, is not to help junior Alcor team members
gain field experience by freezing salvageable people.
I stand corrected on the number of cases Alcor has frozen with
absolutely *no* funding. It's just one. But the number of
underfunded cases which Alcor took anyway presently includes the
first man ever frozen, the two charity cases from T.T. up North,
the lady who is A-1165, and most probably the L.A. AIDS case of
1987 and the Texas suicide (depending on what Alcor can store
for, at minimum funding). In some of these cases (the last
three, and also the completely unfunded San Francisco man), Alcor
did not know the extent of the underfunding until after it had
frozen the patients. Be glad, Alcor, that you didn't freeze
Leary, because he would have been another. Please understand
that I'm not arguing that charity cases are always bad things.
But underfunded cases you didn't plan on, are. They indicate
>If the truth were told,
>at the time the AIDS patient under discussion was in the hospit-
>al, Alcor did not know enough to push for better medical care of
>this man, or worse. They were simply out of the loop.
>>The truth is that at the time, I would have had no reason to
trust Harris' judgment on an AIDS patient's treatment more than
the specialists that had been treating him,
There's the Al Hague again...
>> since Harris' experience mainly consisted of feeding lab
rats and, when he could work up the ambition, part-time jobs at
Plus medical school, internship, residency, a clinical
fellowship, and a year as a clinical attending. This at private,
university, county, and veteran's hospitals in two states.
During all of which I saw a sick patient or two. As for the "doc
in the box's," aka urgent care centers, they are a special kind
of test for physicians in which you sit in a place with no good
lab support and no other doctors, and try to see anyone who comes
in with anything from rash to chest pain, dyspnea to fractures,
headache to dizziness--- and treat and triage without making any
major mistakes. If you can do this in California for a few years
without getting sued, you're doing okay. (For the record, I did
I realize that Mondragon hasn't the resources to tell what my
background is, or what it means. Fine. I don't have
the same as regards him. I've seen him refer to himself a
"financial analyst" at a time when the only finances he appeared
to be analyzing were those of a company which couldn't stay out
of the red except through charity. That didn't bother me at the
time, but apparently I gave him more the benefit of the doubt
more than he gave me. Too bad.
[I might also mention that professional digs as seen above in
Mondragon's comment are rather common problems for medical
scientists: when we are doing mostly research (90% research, 10%
clinical, as I was doing in 1993), we get accused of not being
"real" doctors. When we are doing clinical practice (80%
clinical, 10% research, which is what I'm doing now) we get
accused of not being real scientists. So it goes.]
>>The deja vu is real. Silly us, we seem to think that its
possible to do cryonics without necessily being assholes to
everyone we encounter.<<
Well, you haven't done a very good job demonstrating it.
Steve Harris, M.D.
Appendix (next message): Portion of a letter contemporary to the
events discussed, from me to Alcor CEO Steve Bridge and
directors, containing journal extracts:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Steven B. Harris)
Subject: Re: More History (pt I), Erratum
Date: 02 Sep 1996
A correction: In my historical message part I, I erroneously wrote:
>>As I said, such decisions are complicated, and it's easy
to say somebody did something wrong in retrospect. It's not
always easy at the time to know what is right. Example: During
Mondragon's tenure as CEO, Alcor got multiple calls from a
depressed and suicidal member wanting advice on how to kill
This (like the Florida case) actually was in Steve Bridge's
tenure as CEO, and Mondragon's as a director. In a message about
history, the historical facts should be kept as straight as
Steve Harris, M.D.
From: email@example.com(Steven B. Harris)
Subject: More History (part II)
Date: 02 Sep 1996
Appendix (see previous message): Below is a portion of a letter
contemporary to the events discussed, from me to Alcor CEO Steve
Bridge and directors, containing journal extracts:
Date: Feb 25, 1993
From: Steven B. Harris
The Alcor Board of Directors
I've been asked to give some kind of chronology of events during
the recent suspension [standby] from my viewpoint, along with
comments and recommendations. Here they are, without polish.
I'm also recently in receipt of an offer of an Alcor staff
position (of sorts), tendered by Steve Bridge. It seems fitting
that I reply to these all at once. First then, here are the
relevant events as I recorded them in my journal, with some
I was aware, of course, of the disappearance of one of Alcor's
members in the middle of the week about Feb 10 or 11, and that he
had been suicidal before disappearing. It wasn't until Saturday
that I learned that he had turned up in ***** (a city near Ft.
Lauderdale), and that his mother had not called Alcor, and had in
fact LIED to Alcor about where he was (Alcor had been called by
an independent person in the hospital, on the basis of the
[Alcor member] nametag). Mrs. *****, obviously, was not co-
operating with Alcor from the beginning.
Feb 13 (Sat)
Call in the early afternoon from Tanya Jones, wanting advice
with a suspension case, a [Mr. ******] in Florida, mid 30's gay
male with 10 year Hx of AIDS, who is in **** General Hospital
near Ft. Lauderdale after taking an APAP/propoxyphene (Darvocett)
overdose. [Note: this was later stated by the patient to have
been accidental, but we did not know it at the time] I was given
the lab values, which showed a patient s/p N-acetylcysteine
rescue with blood APAP levels peaking many times normal. Only
mild transaminasemia, so the rescue had apparently been success-
ful. There was also a history of draining rectal abscess for a
month, and the patient had been running a high fever (104 F) in
hospital, now apparently controlled on Ceftazidime, and was
running a good white count with left shift, aided by Neupogen,
and had clearing mental status. Unfortunately, his electrolytes
showed that normal renal function (creatinine = 1 or so) had (as
of just today) risen to 3, and he was now oliguric, with urine
outputs less than 100 cc per 8 hour shift through a Foley,
although he was being hydrated at 100 cc/hr with D5W/.5NS by IV.
Called Steve Bridge at [L.Z.'s] in the SF area, and expressed
concern with the situation, and the lack of ICU care being
offered to the patient.
Feb 14 (Sun)
Valentine's day, which I spent all day working at the clinic.
Consultation on and off with Tanya in Florida, who is giving me
some strange story about the family wanting to take ******* home.
No doctors available to comment. No new lab values (the doctors
have quit ordering them, always a bad sign) but he's still
oliguric on an IV, so it appears that he would not do too well at
home(!) His IV had actually been D/C'd during the night, and
nobody had replaced it. I expressed surprise at all of this, but
Tanya was resistant to the idea of treating **** aggressively,
saying that he wanted to die and that his doctors were backing
off and that there was nothing to be done about it.
.... bothered several times by phone calls in the evening
from Alcor people. Saul called up and was rather upset about the
fact that **** was not being dialyzed, when I thought he should
be. Saul expressed surprise about the fact that treatment was
not aggressive, since the **** had been up and around on his bike
only last week. I agreed that this was the expected baseline
function to which **** would be expected to return, if his acute
medical problems were dealt with. Steve Bridge, recently back
from the San Francisco area, was also called by several people,
and talked to me. We agreed that I should have a conference with
****'s doctor, who would be available first thing in the AM,
which would be 3 AM for me. Meanwhile little to be done,
although **** is without doubt deteriorating hourly without
Feb 15 (Mon)
President's day, so slept in a bit and had most of the day off
from work. Awakened several times during the early morning by
Saul and also Tanya in Florida, but not by the physician.
Finally at 4 pm, call from Tanya saying that *****' infectious
disease specialist, a Dr. R*** who bills himself as an AIDS
specialist, had finally shown up (no doctor, including the
attending had seen *** all day-- now 7 pm in Florida) and was
willing to talk to me. Soon a call back from R**** in the
Plantation general ward, who told me that they had done no tests
since the 13th (when we had seen the new creatinine bump to 3 and
the oliguria), but that *** was "a dead guy, lying there." I
objected that his mental status was not bad, and that there was
nothing in his clinical picture which would not be potentially
corrected by dialysis, and that he might well go back to his
baseline of being up and about and riding his bike, which he'd
been doing last week.
"We're not going to do that," was R****'s answer: "It's not
"Why?" I wanted to know.
"Because he's going to die anyway."
"In California," said I, "we do not let AIDS patients die of
rectal abscesses or Tylenol overdoses, if we can help it."
"Here in Florida," said R****, "we let them die of everything."
"After talking to you, I can well believe it," said I. R**** and
I did not get along. Very soon we got into a vicious circle of
reasoning, in which R**** likened treating **** to doing complic-
ated surgery on someone dying of leukemia. "The difference," I
objected, "is that AIDS patients, unlike failed leukemics, live
sometimes for years."
"Not this one," said R****.
"That's only because you refuse to treat him."
"It wouldn't be appropriate to treat him."
"Because he's going to die anyway." It soon became clear that
R**** was an incompetent who thought **** was in multiple organ
failure, and (worse) did not particularly care if he was or
wasn't. Finally, R***** suggested that there was another ID team
at the hospital who would be glad to follow the patient if the
mother wanted, but that he would not dialyze the patient under
Thereafter I got Tanya on the line and asked for the mother,
******', phone number. I got Mrs. **** at home, identified
myself as a physician working with Alcor and asked to consult
about her son, and was told by her that they had decided to take
**** home, and take things "one day at a time." I quickly
corrected her mis-perception, and told her as gently as I could
that her son was dying of renal failure, and that his only chance
was to be dialyzed, and that to do that she would need to fire
some doctors. She had no idea that her son had been written off
by his physicians as hopelessly terminal, and was angry at not
having been told about all of this earlier by someone (anyone),
and connected some of the problem to Alcor, who she had identif-
ied as trying to kill her son. I tried to dissuade her, and told
her that I was acting on behalf of Alcor, that I was Alcor, that
Alcor wanted her son to live. She did not understand this. She
was not happy about the prospect of going into the hospital at 7
pm and finding a new doctor, but I told her she needed to do
something tonight, and that Alcor would help her. She was
extremely distrustful of Alcor, who she said had "pulled a fast
one" on her, and made reference to the horror of them putting a
"coffin" in ****'s room (the portable ice bath). I attempted to
put her straight about Alcor's role as a "life extension founda-
tion" not an organization devoted to freezing people as early as
possible (all the while wondering if by now I was lying...). She
said she would think about firing ****'s doctors. After
finishing talking to Ms. *****, I then called Tanya back and told
her what was coming.
To work briefly. At home again where I had a message waiting
from Steve Bridge, who told me on callback that Mrs. **** had
descended on the hospital in Florida like Jesus cleaning the
temple, and that her main target had been, not the doctors, but
Alcor, who were ordered out of the hospital. I'm getting blamed
for this. Though I offered further consultation advice, Steve
said that further input from me would not be needed, and what I
had done was quite sufficient. I was given to understand that I
had done more harm than good, although Steve did not use these
<personal inflammatory comments deleted>
Feb 16 (Tue)
More debacle in Florida, for which I am getting blamed. Now
have the word that, due to inadequate funding (a condition only
discovered today, at the insistence of B. F.), ****** is probably
not going to get suspended at all. Which is just as well, since
Alcor has basically been kicked out of the hospital. Supposedly
Dr. R**** told Tanya that they (Alcor) had "lost all credibili-
ty," with him because of me. Not clear to me why one should
worry about losing credibility with R*****, any more than with
Larry, Curley, Mo, or Shemp. The problem is Alcor's lack of
rapport with Mrs. **** which prevents us from getting rid of
Diary Addendum: **** survived without dialysis, to the surprise
of all, and is scheduled for hospital discharge today. I have
since learned that Mrs. **** has told several people that her
main problem was with Alcor (Tanya & Co). I have, at Steve
Bridge's request, had no further contact with the family.
Comment and Analysis:
This last "almost suspension" left a very bad taste in my
mouth, mostly due to my sensing that I was being in some part
blamed for the bad elements of a situation which I had nothing to
do with building. I am reluctant to accept significant blame for
the problems in Florida during the last suspension, since insofar
as I can tell at this late date, I did in this case the only
things I could medically and ethically do, given the knowledge
that I was given. While my prognosis and recommendations for
treatment were not perfect, still in the benefit of hindsight
they remain the best of the sad lot that were obtained in the
case. I thus remain reasonably satisfied with what I did. I
would do, in retrospect, the same things again, if faced with the
Alcor's problems in Florida did not start with me, and were
well-developed long before I got involved. By the time I spoke
to anyone other than Alcor members in Florida, it was quite
apparent that Alcor personnel had communicated hardly at all with
Mrs. *** or the Florida physicians during the critical phase of
*****s' illness, and that (in addition) Mrs. ***** and the physi-
cians were not communicating with each other either. Mrs. ******
made it quite clear to me during my phone conversation with her
that she had already lost trust in Alcor, mainly as the result of
the portable-ice-bath incident, and that this had happened long
before I talked to her. It is difficult for me to know where the
problem lay in all of this. I do know, however, that I did not
like the feedback I received from Alcor (specifically from Steve
Bridge, but indirectly from others as well) after I tried to
rectify an already bad situation by providing some long overdue
and (at that time) fully appropriate medical advice. (And free
advice at that; it's bad enough to look a gift horse in the
mouth, quite another to do that and then complain about the teeth
even when they're in good shape). I still do not like Alcor's
continued implied reaction to what happened (i.e., Steve's recent
letter to me), but I will address this more fully presently.
As we all know, there were a number of problems in Florida.
The most significant one was that power of attorney for health
care was being wielded in this case by a non-cryonicist of
advanced years, frail constitution, emotional instability, and
very poor medical understanding. A second problem was that Mr.
*****' physicians (apparently for reasons having to do with
stupidity or bigotry, or both) were failing to offer him medical
treatment which should have ethically here been offered to the
patient or his decision-makers (no financial considerations apply
here-- dialysis is paid for by medicaid, everywhere in the US).
A third problem was that Alcor personnel on site did not recog-
nize early-on that the patient was not necessarily irreversibly
and immediately terminal, but instead potentially treatable, and
moreover Alcor did not press (for whatever reasons) for treatment
or even further qualified medical opinion later when they were
advised by me that saving the patient's life was in fact a
possibility and an option. A fourth (possibly related) problem
was that Alcor never succeeded in convincing the patient's mother
that they were interested in her son's well-being over all, as
opposed to merely being concerned with how best to freeze him
during that hospital stay. Other problems (which I will not
address in this letter) lay in the funding of the suspension, and
the threat of a coroner who had at least two reasons to do an
autopsy in this case if Mr. **** had died, adding an extra and
significant cryonics-related reason to try to make sure that Mr.
***** was not suspended on this hospital admission.
Let me take the above problems one by one:
To begin with, Alcor must bear primary responsibility for
having to deal with a patient who has indicated an elderly and
somewhat confused non-cryonicist as his power of attorney for
health care. We still bear responsibility to see that this never
happens again. A thorough recheck of suspension documents is now
in order, for clearly Alcor cannot in the future place itself
both in the position of being legally obligated to freeze someone
in a timely manner, and also at the same time place itself
completely at the mercy of outside non-Alcorians who have power
to prevent Alcor from even seeing a terminal patient in the
hospital. This is obviously a no-win situation. In the future,
in those few cases where Alcor members are resistant to making
changes in their suspension paperwork so as to provide reasonable
assurance that such an intolerable situation cannot happen (such
as signed directives from each member stating that Alcor is never
to be denied access to records or bedside, for any reason whatso-
ever), my strong recommendation is that such members may have to
be invited to join another cryonics group. As an organization we
cannot afford them, and we must not try. Our power to deal with
this situation as a legal threat prompting membership refusal is
clearly granted in our bylaws (March 3, 1991, non-discrimination
policy adopted unanimously by the Alcor Directors then present).
It is not possible for me to accurately gauge Alcor's share of
the responsibility (if any) for the poor communication which
certainly occurred in the field between Alcor, the patient's
family, and the patient's doctors in this case. I understand
that Alcor's coordination with one trained EMT Alcor member in
the area was not good, either, however, so it may be that some
changes need to be made by Alcor field staff in the way they do
things in the future. You must judge.
Alcor and a patient's family suffered in this case from the
problem of not being able to independently medically assess a
sick patient. You may be surprised to know that (quite frankly)
I see this as a secondary problem. Even had Alcor had the
World's Best Internist (assuredly this is not I) on site in
Florida (where no Alcor medical consultant in fact was), that we
would *still* have been helpless without the full cooperation of
the patient's family, which we did not have (and had not had,
since long before I became directly involved).
Let me go further and say that I see nothing unreasonable in
Alcor's assumption (if such it was) that the patient's personal
physician, who was there with him, might be expected to have as
good or better clinical judgement and prognosis in the case than
that of a distant consultant (in this case, me) forced to base
his opinion on information gained over the telephone. In this
particular odd case the assumption proved faulty (again due more
to the incompetence/perfidity of the patient's Florida physicians
than any special talent of mine) but normally it should have been
None of this, however, necessarily consigns Alcor to a passive
role. As Steve Bridge points out, Alcor has no medically trained
people on staff, now that Jerry and Mike have been frozen out,
and therefore I agree that it is certainly not Alcor's proper
place to try to decide between physician's opinions, if two
physicians disagree. Instead, however, it should have been then,
and should be now, incumbent upon Alcor to aggressively pursue
diverse 2nd, 3rd, and 4th medical opinions in any case of a clear
conflict of prognosis and treatment plan between an Alcor
physician consultant and a physician actually treating the
patient. Alcor failed to do even this in the **** case, however,
and this failure started long before my own direct contact with
the patient's doctor and mother (I had made my disagreement clear
long before then). Charitably, this failure may be attributed to
Alcor's very real lack of control over the situation and belief
that (by this time) they could do nothing anyway with such a
request for treatment but do further harm to their relationship
with the patient's family (which they needed to keep intact for
the patient's sake). Uncharitably, such a failure to pursue
every reasonable treatment option might conversely be attributed
to Alcor's desire to simply perfuse the patient as soon as
possible and come home. I hope and trust that the first possibi-
lity is in fact the case.
We now directly confront the issue, raised by Steve Bridge in
his recent letter to me, of whether Alcor should attempt to live
up to its title as a full "life extension foundation" in every
sense of the word (as opposed to just a cryonics organization)
when it has no real medical staff. My answer: being a full life
extension foundation is a matter consisting of cryonics capa-
bility plus 1) legal preparation, 2) financial preparation, and
3) state of mind. Adequate medical consultation, by contrast,
can almost always be had at any time if all the above is in
place, and such medical consultation does not necessarily have to
come from a cryonicist physician. As an example, I will ask you
(each Director) to imagine that you have a family member in the
hospital with a life-threatening illness. The physician YOU have
selected for your family member calls your family member a "dead
guy, lying there," even though he is still semiconscious, and the
physician further states there is nothing to be done for him.
The Alcor consulting physician (by contrast) strongly disagrees,
states that your family member's span of quality life can be
significantly prolonged with appropriate therapy, and recommends
a specific therapy. Now: at this point do you simply take a
passive role because you are not a doctor, allowing the disease
to take its course? Or do you act like an intelligent adult and
layperson and get yourself a few more doctors and some more
information on which to base a decision? Again, the problem in
Florida this time was not primarily one of availability of
medical expertise, in my opinion, but rather lack of legal power
and/or willpower. These problems can, I think, both be addressed
without any change in Alcor's present capable field personnel.
As opposed to cryonics expertise, medical expertise from Alcor
personnel on-site is handy, but perhaps not absolutely essential.
Which brings us to my own future role in Alcor, one which I
think also is not necessarily particularly essential. In Steve
Bridge's letter of Feb 18 I have been offered a somewhat dubious
and ambiguous position as one of a number of "consulting phy-
sicians" for Alcor. Money and a future Director position are
mentioned, somewhat alternately. Since I am interested in
neither of these, however, the chief features of such a job for
me would seem to be a formal job title (I don't see the magic in
this that Steve Bridge seems to), the implicit promise of future
cases like the ***** case (no, thanks), and (chiefly) the
somewhat anxious and obnoxious requirement that if given this
magic title I will always consult with Steve Bridge in future
cases before talking to the family, and always use a speaker
phone when I do (!). Coming in the context of what happened in
the **** case, such a request amounts to a pretty direct admiss-
ion of distrust in the way I do things medically, and also
distrust of my judgement and tact in handling the families of
sick patients. Since these things go right to the core of my
chosen profession, under the circumstances (particularly given
the way the ***** case turned out, demonstrating the utter
incompetence of the physician which Alcor did not challenge) I
find Steve Bridge's implication highly insulting. On a personal
level, in fact, coming as Steve's offer does from a person with
very little relevant medical training himself who nevertheless
proposes to chaperon me at such a task, and (moveover) coming
from a person who had a track record of letting *other* untrained
people perform this task with very little supervision in the
past, I find it doubly and triply insulting. Thus my answer is
(again) "No, thanks."
Note in 1996: It's still "no, thanks." Hopefully the reasons
are getting clear, even to people who are strangers to this mess.
From: Mike Darwin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Who's Who & Dave Cosenza
Date: 09 Dec 1995
---- CryoNet Message Auto-Forwarded by <email@example.com> ----
Date: 08 Dec 95 16:40:48 EST
From: Mike Darwin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS Who's Who & Dave Cosenza
David Cosenza writes:
>The only people I can think of that Mr. Wowk could be referring to is Brenda
>Peters and Mike Darwin who were vocal Alcor supporters for years. It should
>be noted that during the political schism at Alcor, Mrs. Peters violated her
>fiduciary duty to Alcor when she was a director and misappropriated Alcor's
>mailing list and made unauthorized mailings (one of which I got a copy of).
I have no particular deep loyalty to CryoCare or any cryonics organization.
I do however have a modicum of respect for history. The above summary is
a little truncated and more than a little distorted. The real history
would be useful:
When I assumed Presidency of Alcor in 1981 it had about 30 members and
fewer than half had "real" funding and fewer than 25% of those had adequate
Three people: Hugh Hixon, Jerry Leaf and I worked tirelessly to improve and
change that situation. Major help was provided by Steve Bridge (who
co-edited CRYONICS magazine with me and served as sounding board, and who also
co-wrote the basic Alcor sign-up paperwork and early literature) and by
mainstays like Marce Johnson and Greg Fahy who provided support services
from hosting functions and making things run smoothly (Marce), to providing
critical technical information (Greg). Paul and in particular Maureen
Genteman were also helpful with day to day and social tasks as was (later)
Saul's wife, JoAnn Martin. Anna Hughes was also tireless and very valuable
during the early days taking on both research andadministrative work.
I exclude (only from mention!) here people who were not present continuously,
but who also helped greatly.
Among other absolutely critical people were Saul Kent and Bill Faloon who
picked up the tab for the salary for me and Hugh Hixon for about three
years. Saul also dropped about another $40 to $60 K into Alcor to support
the cat brain/body cryopreservation survey research, paid for the canine
deep hypothermia (4 C) blood washout and 4 hour perfusioj work (highly
successful) and covered much of the patenting cost on the resulting
technology. Saul and Bill also paid for countless special projects
including four color brochures, mailings of tens of thousands of pieces of
literature, and the purchase of critical capital equipment. This was a
staggerring, truly unimagineable amount of money at the time in cryonics.
I used to agonize over the cost of a can and of paint.
BTW Saul and I were also instrumental in persudaing a personal friend to
switch to Alcor and to leave Alcor several million dollars. Until the
break with Carlos Mondragon (Alcor's then CEO) Saul worked closely with
Carlos and was truly in partnership in planning much of Alcor's
promotional activities, legal strategies (and paying for them, including
sponsoring several costly conferences). Indeed, he and Carlos met weekly
and sometimes more often, and spoke by phone almost daily, in short they
worked as a team.
As an aside, Bill Faloon is greatly underestimated in his decision making
role and in the influence he has had. High profile isn't his style; as a
consequence his input has been badly undervauled.
During the Dora Kent legal crisis Saul paid many of the tens of thousand of
dollars of legal bills and with Jerry Leaf was initially *exclusively*
involved in strategy and mapping legal approach. The role of all current
Alcor personnel and Directors was minimal in this regard until after the
first and very critical months of the crisis had passed. My role was also
minimal as my response was what I guess is called a nervous breakdown; not
impressive, not effective, and not to be repeated.
Hugh and I worked long hours to put out a magazine, build equipment and
carry out day to day work -- as did Jerry Leaf.
Brian Wowk became a key player fairly early in writing much of the
manuscript for the (still used largely as it was) Alcor handbook CRFT.
CRFT was the single most successful promotional tool ever used in cryonics.
Further, Brian was responsible for separating the idea of cryonics from
the idea of freezing dead people by rigorously defining dearth and pointing
up the obvious that death is irreversible by definition, and that
cryonicists don't consider frozen patients dead. This was a pivotal
creative promotional insight.
The development of the portable ice bath, the use of end tidal CO2
monitoring, the introduction of many new drugs to mitigate ischemic injury,
and the introduction of sensitive monitoring techniques to evaluate
premortem state (and risk of death) and postmortem response to transport
and cryoprotective perfusion were done by me.
About midway through this period Steve Harris, M.D. came on board as
Medical Director. Anyone who has read CryoNet cannot but have an
appreciarion for the magnitude of the intellect and talent of Dr. Harris.
He has greatly improved the quality of not only cryopreservations, but
improved premortem care and in several cases saved members from needing to
be cryopreserved. Dr. Harris wrote one of the most effective chapters in
CRFT: Chapter 2: Introducing Cryonics. He also was a major contributor to
Cryonics magazine and his articles on a wide range of subjects were
immensely popular with readers.
Thomas Donaldson also was a mainstay providing some financial support and
unending editorial support and authorship of many fine articles on the
philosophy and technology of cryonics and medicine as it related to
Brenda was without a doubt the best PR person to ever come into cryonics.
Watch her on the Larry King show as she and I dismantled a leading
scientific critic of cryonics. Her performance was art in action. She
campaigned tirelessly for Alcor and brought later movers and shakers like
Charles Platt into active involvement.
Charles Platt masterminded the Alcor Omni Immortality contest. He wrote
many articles promoting cryonics and provided support to Alcor in areas as
diverse as PR, finances and administration.
Other members such as Courtney Smith, Bob Krueger, and others who I cannot
publically name provided advice and support (often financial) over many years,
in some cases over a decade.
Al Lopp similarly put in years of effort in magazine production, help with
cryopreservations, dog experiments and early on (first three years)
bookeeping and business support. Later he contributed costly computer
equipment, even more costly expertise, and a hell of a lot money as well.
Carlos Mondragon made significant administrative and crisis management
contributions and took Alcor through a very difficult period, contributing
important and critical legal and logistic input. Not to mention dealing with
the grinding day to day of cantanejerous personnel, incluiding moi, and
dealing very effectively with the media which he had a special flare for.
Bill Seidel contributed thousands of dollars of video hardware to Alcor,
did professional quality filming of cryopreservations for
media/promotional purposes, and produced the first and only Alcor
documentary/videotape to promote cryonics to prospective members and the
media. Bill also brought on board 4-6 "suspension" members (minimum) as a
result of his salesmanship. An impressive feat even today.
Ralph Merkle and Keith Henson & wife Arel Lucas also made significant
contributions in formatting nanotechnoloy ideas and lending their
reputations (considerable) to promoting cryonics. Ralph also lectured
tirelessly on behalf of cryonics and Alcor, and continues to do so.
Further, Ralph supllied significant financial help.
Of course there were many others who helped. But the above people were
absolutely critical and made major inputs of a creative nature which drove
Alcor forward powerfully during its formative years and, so far, peak
period of growth. I have nothing to say about current Alcor Staff or
Management as that is not relevant to Cosenza's remarks; and besides people
like Joe Hovey, Hugh Hixon, Steve Bridge, Mike Perry, and Derek Ryan (Derek
now "retired" to go to Medical School) are fine people who are hard
workers. They are also people I consider friends. But that is not the
What is at issue is CryoCare and BioPreservation people and their track record:
I (Mike Darwin) left Alcor first.
Steve Harris Followed about a year later.
People who left shortly thereafter:
Saul Kent & JoAnn Martin
Jerry arrested from an MI before the controversy/break occurred and is
currently cryopreserved at Alcor in Phoenix. Anna Hughes dropped out in
the mid '80s.
People who stayed:
Keith & Arel Henson-Lucas
The numbers don't really matter here. And a debate about the relative
importance of each contribution by these people, stated or omitted is also
not really relevant. What is relevant is that a significant number of people
involved in critical aspects of building Alcor left to found CryoCare. These
people were not inexperienced, or morons, or currs, and I think even most of
current Alcor management would agree with this assessment. Certainly they
are experienced at doing cryonics and are well-intentioned. The same can be
said for those who stayed with Alcor.
>Darwin was relieved because he put the whole organization and patient base
>at risk of autopsy when he stepped outside the legal milieu. So, if that
>falls under your heading of worthy then...
Relieved, no not really. Stepped outside legal bounds: this is true. It
will probably be true in the future and will certainly be true for Alcor in
the future. I have made many mistakes, some quite serious. I try not to
repeat mistakes, serious and otherwise. If the position is to be taken
that serious mistakes that jeopardize patients are a disqualification for
further practice of cryonics, I would be willing to make a public list for
Alcor of the same magnitude of errors on their part some repeated by the same
people and qualitatively the same (in my estimation anyway) since I
left. If Steve Bridge wishes me to do this, or any Alcor Director for that
matter, I will comply. I do not think this will be productive for Alcor, for
CryoCare, for BPI or for me. But if we are to sling mud and inneundo then
it should be done competently. If mutually assured destruction results,
the big losers will be the patients and members of all cryonics organizations.
Personally, I remain signed up pro forma. I have dealt with the issue of
personal death and rank avoiding it for myself fairly low on the event
horizon of things I worry about. That position can be wonderfully
liberating for a person, and a dangerous situation for their
enemies/competitors who like to play chicken and misguess who'll swerve or
>My last post couldn't possibly have been more impersonal. It is not my
>intention to flame Mr. Wowk or his cryonics company; if i have
>inadvertently done so, then I humbly apologize.
Look at Cosenza's PAST posts. This is a little like Hitler posting a piece
saying simply "I think genetics play a part in behavior. I can't understand why
anyone in the Jewish community would be offended by this remark." Yeah, while
failing to mention Mein Kampf and then sending copies privately through the
mail. That's Dave.
Give it a rest Dave. Alcor seems to be doing well, CI is doing well, and
CryoCare is doing well. Cryonics seems to be doing well. Maybe the real
problem is that it is doing so without you. Get a life.
Anyone else out there ready for another exchange of nice, hot steaming shit?
Then Dave's your man.
PS: I would appreciate it if anyone who engages in "private correspondence"
with Dave would copy the people he "accuses." Dave already has one libel
lawsuit against him. Others should have a crack at him too.
From: "Steve Harris" <sbharris@ix.RETICULATEDOBJECTcom.com>
Subject: Re: Preserving DNA for Posterity
Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2002 18:33:05 GMT
Keith F. Lynch wrote in message ...
>Why won't Alcor cryopreserve living people's pets? Or was the
>desperate person who wrote to me for advice mistaken?
It was basically the policy of two people who ran Alcor rigidly through the
late 90's and didn't have any pets. Now that management has changed, the
policy may change, when the company gets around to it.
I think that a cryonics organization should certainly store companion
animals, so long as they are funded at the same $/mL of storage volume, as
are the humans. But that can be expensive. At a buck a mL, it would go from
a few hundred bucks for a cat head, to the price of a new luxury auto for
your whole Great Dane. And cryonics organizations need to be somewhat
Draconian about demanding storage money up front, since what tends to happen
otherwise (even for humans) is that the grieving family pays for 5 years or
so, then finds something else to do with the money. At that point the
storage organization ends up with a problem, since what should otherwise be
a simple contractual agreement tends to viewed unfairly by civil courts who
figure cryonics is scamming anyway. People who've paid for 5 or 10 years
into a pet fund tend to start thinking that they should get perpetual upkeep
or alimony, like a marriage. And it costs money to pay lawyers to argue the
I welcome email from any being clever enough to fix my address. It's open
book. A prize to the first spambot that passes my Turing test.