A 14-year-old schoolgirl from the United Kingdom was recently frozen cryogenically after she died of cancer, hoping that she would be woken up in the future when the scientists would find a ‘miracle cure’ for her condition.
“I think being cryo-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up, even in hundreds of years’ time. I don’t want to be buried underground … I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they might find a cure for my cancer and wake me up,” she wrote in a letter to the judge.
She had asked the High Court judge to rule that her mother, who supported her decision to be frozen upon death, be granted sole rights regarding the disposal of her body. The judge in an October-ruling granted her wish and she was taken to the United States shortly after her death on October 17 to be frozen.
So, how can you cheat death?
You can cheat death by a process called cryogenic freezing, which involves preserving the body of a patient after his/her death only to be brought back to life in future.
What is cryogenic freezing and how does it work?
Soon after the patient is legally dead, the patient’s body is given an ice-bath to reduce the body temperature to just above water’s freezing point. In some cases, CPR is administered to prevent the brain cells from dying. After that, the body is drained off blood and replaced with ‘organ-preserving liquid’, following which the blood vessels are injected with a solution that stops the ice crystals from forming inside the organs and tissues. After that the corpse is further cooled to -130 degrees Celcius.
Finally, the body is placed inside a container which is lowered into a tank full of liquid nitrogen and kept at -196 degrees Celcius.
What the hell is legal death?
It’s a stage just after death when most of a person’s tissues are still alive.
Can a living person be preserved cryogenically?
Well, legally it is not possible. The facility is currently available for terminally ill patients only.
Where can a person be frozen cryogenically?
At present, there are only three organisations that offer this facility. While two of them are in the United States, one is in Russia.
What about the cost?
Well, you need to shell out a lot of money if you plan on doing something like this in future.
Cryonics institute in the US has two types of memberships- annual and lifetime. While a lifetime member pays a one-time fee of $1,250 and can arrange for cryopreservation at CI for $28,000, an annual member pays a $75 initiation fee plus $120 yearly (or $35 quarterly) and can arrange for cryopreservation at CI for $35,000. In either case, the cost of preparation or shipment by a local funeral director must be arranged separately .