Cryonics have been satirized in this country for decades. Humour columnist Gary Lautens of the Toronto Star set the tone way back in 1964 when he advised prospective volunteers for Cryogenic suspension "Let me know if the light really goes out when you close the refrigerator door, eh?" Then an urban myth arose in 1967 claiming that Walt Disney had been "frozen". Not true, but the mockery grew intense. If memory serves, even CBC comedians Wayne and Shuster got in on the act. Funeral Directors nationwide enjoyed the joke. Well the real story today is that a few Canadian believers in the concept are refusing to be thwarted.
Vancouver Milestone - B.C.'s First Cryonic Suspension patient- July 9, 2010
At 1:30 AM July 3rd a Vancouver woman was found slumped in front of a PC. Perhaps she was surfing the Net as we all do late at night. Her husband phoned 911 and she was rushed to the Emergency at a nearby hospital. At 12 Noon she was moved to the ICU and given a brain scan. At 6:30 PM a physician pronounced her dead... and that ending was the start of a new life. The life of a long term cryonic "patient".
The quoted price was US$28,000, with an initial deposit of US$1250 required to set complex procedures in motion. This unplanned case (the family has never been a member of any Cryonic Society) was an imposition on the American Cryo-support team because they had to assemble on the July 4th long weekend holiday. The Vancouver family paid the initial deposit with a PayPal account and engaged the services of a cooperative Funeral Director. (The Funeral Industry is very hostile to the whole concept of cryonics.) The balance of the $28,000 fee was paid by bank transfer.
The patient's son, accompanied by the Funeral Director, were waiting in a room adjacent to the ICU until hospital staff declared his Mom legally dead. They rolled in a temporary coffin containing almost 80 pounds of dry ice, and removed her from the hospital. A few hours later she was sealed inside four body bags, each inside the next, and transferred to a sheet metal box. An additional 120 pounds of dry ice was added. The metal box was nested with thick Styrofoam sheeting inside an outer case made from West Fraser Plywood. The lady was stored until the Funeral Director could get the necessary paperwork from the U.S. Consulate. Properly sealed with a Customs declaration the coffin was transported to YVR on July 7 and loaded aboard a Delta Airlines flight to Detroit on July 8. The patient was entrusted to perpetual care in the U.S. because there is no service offered anywhere in Canada. Cryonic Suspension is outlawed here and all the Law permits is the transfer of a loved one to a foreign storage facility. Technical details on the suspension process can be read at the Cryonics Institute website. They trumpet this case as their "98th patient".
This is the Cryogenic storage facility in the Michigan where British Columbia's first Cryogenic storage patient is resting. MRS. X died on July 3, 2010 in a Vancouver I.C.U. and was flown to Detroit on July 8. Her son arrived at the facility on July 9 and witnessed the two day produre as his mother was cooled and finally frozen for perpetual storage. The procedure cost - US$ 28,000.
Vancouver Cryonic Milestone -The transfer completed, the staff of the Cryogenic support team display the empty transfer case, custom built to Cryogenic standards, by a Vancouver Funeral Director. Note the Yellow label "HUMAN REMAINS" and "YVR".
Vancouver Cryonic Milestone - A Cryonic Institute staff member displays the transfer case, shipped from YVR Vancouver, B.C. The patient's body was carefully preserved in 200 pounds of dry ice, resting inside four rubber body bags, a sheet metal coffin, Styroifoam and a plywood outer case.
The CREMATION, INTERMENT AND FUNERAL SERVICES ACT (2004) outlaws the selling or even promotion of Cryonic services in this British Columbia. A local funeral business will be prosecuted if it even displays brochures on the premises. The ACT can be read here.