When an 87-year-old Californian man was wheeled into an operating room just outside Phoenix last year, the pandemic was at its height and medical protocols were being upended across the country.
A case like his would normally have required 14 or more bags of fluids to be pumped into him, but now that posed a problem.
Had he been infected with the coronavirus, tiny aerosol droplets could have escaped and infected staff, so the operating team had adopted new procedures that reduced the effectiveness of the treatment but used fewer liquids.
It was an elaborate workaround, especially considering the patient had been declared legally dead more than a day earlier.
He had arrived in the operating room of Alcor Life Extension Foundation — located in an industrial park near the airport in Scottsdale, Ariz. — packed in dry ice and ready to be “cryopreserved,” or stored at deep-freeze temperatures, in the hope that one day, perhaps decades or centuries from now, he could be brought back to life.
As it turns out, the pandemic that has affected billions of lives around the world has also had an impact on the nonliving.
From Moscow to Phoenix and from China to rural Australia, the major players in the business of preserving bodies at extremely low temperatures say the pandemic has brought new stresses to an industry that has long faced skepticism or outright hostility from medical and legal establishments that have dismissed it as quack science or fraud.
Categories: Science and Technology