The Cryonics Institute’s 96th Patient
The 96th patient of the Cryonics Institute (CI) patient is a 67-year-old woman. She was straight-frozen and shipped by plane to Detroit in dry ice from a state outside of Michigan.
CI's funeral director picked-up the patient at the Detroit airport and arrived at CI at about 6:30pm on Tuesday, June 15th. Insofar as the patient was a straight-freeze beginning at dry ice temperature (about −80ºC) down to liquid nitrogen temperature (about −196ºC) the patient was wrapped in a closed sleeping bag and completely tied to a backboard. Complete wrapping and tying is not done until after cooling in the cooling box for a patient that has been perfused.
This was the first human patient to be cooled with our new Omega cooling controller, which replaced the LabView/NI computer-controller we had used previously. There were advantages to being able to customize software to our specifications in LabView, but it was becoming horribly expensive. By contrast, the Omega software/hardware is inexpensive and is being used in thousands of other applications. It is an "industrial strength product" and phone support with helpful technicians was much, much easier than it had been previously. Having used the new software/hardware on several pets, this was first human on which it was used.
On the advice of Marc McMaken, CI's friendly neighborhood cryogenic engineer, I bought an Omega 1/16 DIN CN96111TR-C2 controller. Andy Zawacki, who has had electronic training, wired the controller. Although the unit can be programmed manually, Marc recommended a computer interface with Omega software. Fortunately, I got good used $300 laptops from Laptop Outlet.com. I also had to purchase the Omega CN9-SW-GRAPHIX software.
The LabView/NI software/hardware allowed for four thermocouples, but the Omega software/hardware only allows for one thermocouple. I have had enough experience with the LabView/NI software/hardware, however, to understand the relationship between ambient, body and brain temperature during the process of cooling. Cooling was controlled by ambient temperature, which results in the most gentle cooling of the patient, despite the fact that the temperature fluctuations at the thermocouple make it appear to be the least gentle. The cooling box was pre-cooled to dry ice temperature before placing the patient inside.
|Cooling curve for the CI's 96th patient|
Cooling of the patient began at about 7:30pm and was completed at about 2:30pm the next day. With only a single temperature probe and limited graphics capabilities, graphing with the Omega system is less sophisticated than with LabView. The Omega data from the single probe can be exported to a Microsoft EXCEL file. A chart can be created from EXCEL's charting capabilities. Following ambient temperature in the cooling box from dry ice temperature to liquid nitrogen temperature does not make for a very interesting graph, but it is a useful exercise.
|Patient removed from cooling box||Cryostat awaiting patient|
Andy Zawacki and his brother-in-law Dave Fulcher (who has been a part-time employee at CI since January 2009, and had worked for CI for a couple of decades previously) moved the patient. CI's 96th patient became the fifth patient to occupy cryostat HSSV−6−10.
|Patient lowered into cryostat|