A 14-year old British girl who has died of cancer had convinced a judge to allow her body to be cryogenically frozen instead of buried after her death. She hoped that she can be ‘woken up’ in the future if a cure for cancer is found.
Before her death, she wrote to the judge, “I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they may find a cure for my cancer and wake me up.”
The girl cannot be named for some legal reasons, said the judge, “being cryo-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up— even in hundreds of years’ time.”
The girl’s divorced parents initially disallowed her wish, So she asked a High Court judge, Mr Justice Peter Jackson to interfere. Some time before her death in a London hospital on 17th November, the judge granted her wish. Her mother favoured her decision. But her father at first said no but as her daughter’s death neared he softened his stance.
No doubt this is a unique case. She is the only British child to have been frozen.
She told a relative, “I’m dying, but I’m going to come back again in 200 years.”
The judge said the girl had chosen the most basic preservation option which cost about $62,000.
The girl asked the court to designate only her mother who could dispose of her remains so that she could be cryogenically preserved.
The unique ruling came in October and there was restriction on any media coverage out of respect for her stated desire for privacy. The ruling cleared the way for her remains to be taken to a specialist facility hospital in the US to begin her preservation.
The girl was too sick to attend the court proceedings, so the judge visited her in the hospital. He said the girl spent her last month of life, researching cryonics.
In a letter to the court she wrote at the end, “I don’t want to be buried underground. I want to have this chance. This is my wish.”
Cryonics, which means cold is the low-temperature preservation of people who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine. The temperature of that process is usually -196o C. It is done with the hope that resurgence and restoration to full health may be possible in the far future.
Cryopreservation of humans is not reversible with present technology; cryonicists hope that medical advances will someday allow cryopreserved people to be revived.
This procedure can only begin after legal death, and cryonics “patients” are considered legally dead. Cryonics procedures ideally begin within minutes of cardiac arrest and use cryoprotectants to prevent ice formation during cryopreservation.