Judge Peter Jackson allowed a 14-year-old girl to undergo cryopreservation in future hopes of a cure for her cancer. The girl won the battle for this decision shortly before she passed away due to complications.
The father opposed this course of action, but the judge ruled in favor of the mother. For privacy reasons, both the girl, as well as her next of kin will remain anonymous for further references.
Dying Girl’s Recommendation Letter
The teenager girl had to write the reasons for undergoing cryopreservation and address them in court. One of the most heartbreaking statements, as well as her dying wish, was to not be buried underground. For a tragedy-struck young lady, she was aware enough of her predicament.
However, in the last months of her life, she used the Internet to gather extensive knowledge on cryopreservation. Ultimately, thinking that in several hundreds of years’ time doctors will find a cure for cancer, she is now resting in a cryopreservation facility.
The judge paid her a few visits while she was still in the hospital. The experience left him impressed, mostly by “the valiant way in which she was facing her predicament.”
Judge Peter Jackson’s Decision
The case was first brought in court on September 26th. Finally, on 6 October, the judge made his decision. As a result, he ruled in favor of the mother. He supplements the decision with a clear explanation. “It was not about the rights or wrongs of cryopreservation, but a dispute between parents over the disposal of their daughter’s body.”
Cryopreservation Technique, Costs, and Special Facilities
There is a group of volunteers with extensive cryopreservation training in the UK that takes care of a patient’s body. As a result, they start the process of freezing shortly after death occurs. Ultimately, they arrange for the body to be moved and stored in a special facility.
There are several cryopreservation facilities in the U.S. and Russia. Once the patient arrives, cryopreservation experts infuse the bodies with cryoprotectants – a substance similar to antifreeze. This prevents ice crystal formation and cell damage. Next, they drop the temperature and preserve the bodies in liquid nitrogen at -202 degrees F.
The low temperatures ensure that cells survive dehydration after death. However, uncontrolled freezing and dehydration can be lethal. Hence, only a handful of people with an extensive background in cryopreservation can handle the task.
In the British girl’s case, the parents had to pay approximately $46,000 for preserving the body for an infinite amount of time. However odd the case may seem, there are several hundred people that have already paid for this opportunity. Furthermore, and many as 1,250 are on the waiting list, expecting to undergo cryopreservation soon.
The nonprofit organization, Cryonics UK provides assistance to people that want to freeze their bodies, using cryopreservation. As of today, the group takes pride in helping as many as ten people so far.
However, as promising as cryopreservation sounds, nothing guarantees that a patient could come back to life anytime in the future. If something, scientists agree that completely reawakening a frozen human body is a remote possibility. Also, the procedure demands massive breakthroughs in technology, in order to be successful.
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