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Funeral Directors Guidelines

Funeral Directors' Guidelines

When members of the Cryonics Institute become legally dead outside of the Detroit Metropolitan area, help of a local funeral director will be required.

We regard clinical death as potentially reversible in the future. We regard these people as patients, and it is important that action be timely and appropriate. But because the "patients" are legally dead, and because of certain skills and connections, it is appropriate that some of the post-mortem procedures, including transportation, be handled or arranged by funeral directors.

If the hospital has not administered heparin, then the funeral director should do so through a readily-accessible vein. If possible, ask the hospital to leave in I.V. lines or to insert an I.V. line post-mortem if a line in not already in place. If there are no I.V. lines in place, attempt to access a large superficial vein in the arm or hand, preferably the largest superficial veins of the arm (the antecubital veins). If a cut-down of tissue is necessary to expose a vein, please be careful not to damage blood vessels.

Once a vein is accessible, inject the heparin. Heparin will prevent blood clotting and make the blood washout much easier in Michigan. Use 40,000 units of heparin intravenously. Use CPR-like chest compressions for 5 to 15 minutes after injection to circulate the heparin. The more chest compressions that can be given, the better. Vigorous chest compressions are good because circulating the heparin is of greater importance than the risk that ribs will be broken.

When removing a patient from the place of death we ask that you have at least a couple of bags of ice (about 15 lbs) with you so that they can be placed around the patient's head to cool the brain while the patient is being transported to the funeral home. An "ice pillow" of crushed ice under the patient's head and another covering the patient's face provides better cooling. The best cooling is with ice water rather than with ice cubes. If feasible placing the patient into a body bag filled with unbagged ice and some water will give good cooling.

At the funeral home, cooling with ice must continue while arrangements are made for transport to the Cryonics Institute facility. If the patient is being shipped via aircraft, the nearest commercial airport is Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan. Once the patient is delivered to Michigan, there are further procedures we will perform before the patient is placed in long-term storage in liquid nitrogen.

Shipment requires a Ziegler shipping container, a vinyl body pouch, an air tray with cover and ice. This can be ready beforehand or quickly prepared when needed. If shipment will not require more than half a day, it will be adequate to use a Ziegler box placed inside of a cardboard box on a standard "air tray" without insulation. If shipment is expected to take longer, fiberglass wool insulation should be placed around the Ziegler and then covered with the cardboard cover to help insulate the container. Any questions concerning insulating the container can be directed to Andy Zawacki at 586 791-5961.

The patient should be placed in the body pouch and then placed in the Ziegler shipping container. A bag of ice should be placed under the patient's head and then the patient should then be completely covered with ice. The ice should be checked, and replenished if needed, before the patient is taken to the airport. Our goal is to keep the patient as cold as possible during transport without actually freezing the patient. Freezing damages blood vessels, making perfusion impossible. The patient, ice and Ziegler can be placed in an above-freezing walk-in cooler, if available, to make the ice last longer while making flight arrangements and filing paperwork. Ensure that the patient is not exposed to subzero (winter) temperatures outdoors or indoors.

For much more detail on how to transport cryonics patients to the Cryonics Institute, see Shipping of Cryonics Patients.

Cryonics Institute staff should be promptly notified in any case of death or possible death of a member, or in case of any question or emergency.

The telephone number for The Cryonics Institute is (586) 791-5961, and our fax number is (586) 792-7062. Our address is 24355 Sorrentino Court, Clinton Township, Michigan 48035.

Contact Number:

Andrew Zawacki (586) 791-5961


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