Tag Archives: resusitation

Suspended Animation; Hitting The “Pause” Button

Photo courtesy of news.filehippo.com

You have been just diagnosed with a terminal illness and there is no known cure at this time so what’s next? No worries mate for we are just about to cross the thresh-hold into the world of suspended animation. Say your good-byes to family and friends and make your reservation to be frozen in time until a cure is found. In the mean- time, visitors can visit your motionless body while it lies in a clear cryogenic viewing tube. But they will die of old age, and you, you’ll still be looking fresh as a daisy instead of pushing them up. The concept of putting people on ice goes a lot farther back than you might think. Let’s jump into the way-back machine and see when man first thought of people freezing.

Way back in the fourth century Hippocrates thought of using cold water to treat a variety of ailments including hemorrhages, and when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, snow was used to numb limbs that had to be amputated during battle. Recently a young man hitched a ride on an Hawaiian Airlines jet by stowing away in one of the planes wheel wells. He survived a 3 hour flight in subzero temperatures and no oxygen flying at 30,000 feet with no ill effects. Apparently his body had adapted to the cold temperatures and thin air. Now emergency prevention and resuscitation (EPR), also known in simple terms as suspended animation, is in clinical trials for the very first time with humans. The plan is to perform EPR on 10 trauma patients over the next two years.

This accomplishment could be both a blessing and a curse when you give it some rational thought. The cost I imagine would be prohibited for a lot of people who would like to save their loved ones but who lack the financial means. That means that only the wealthy would be able to buy immortality unless our politicians out of the goodness of their hearts pass legislation to assure all citizens a cost break to make it available to everyone. Which would mean a subsidy of some sort which some will be totally against which will mean a case before the Supreme Court etc. And then there’s the question of storage space and a competent guardian or a company to oversee the maintenance. The technology is here and it’s just a matter of time before it happens but first it’s probably going to be tested in the most harsh environment we know, outer space. Using the science of suspended animation, NASA and Space Works Enterprises are studying on how to induce a hypothermic state in the Mars bound settlers in 2023. It would save considerately on resources needed to make the six month one way journey. Once it becomes a successfully tested technology imagine the countless uses. But somehow someone will find a way to use it for unethical purposes like freezing criminals until they can be truly rehabilitated.