LONDON (CNN) – A British teenager has been cryogenically frozen after she died of cancer. It was the 14-year-old’s dying wish but she had to go to court to win the right to carry it out.
She wrote to the judge that she wanted the chance to live again if a cure for her cancer is found, even hundreds of years from now.
“I have been asked to explain why I want this unusual thing done. I’m only 14 years old and I don’t want to die, but I know I am going to. I think being cryo-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up, even in hundreds of years’ time… I think that in the future they might find a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I want to have this chance. This is my wish.”
The girls’ divorced parents disagreed with each other about carrying out her final wish.
The father writing:
“Even if the treatment is successful and [she] is brought back to life in let’s say 200 years, she may not find any relative and she might not remember things and she may be left in a desperate situation given that she is only 14 years old and will be in the United States of America.”
Friday we learned the judge had allowed the procedure to be carried out a few weeks ago. The girl’s lawyer said it wasn’t revealed to the public initially out of respect for the family.
“Having a very experienced children solicitor involved in addition to medical professionals and a social worker who on the case already enabled the judge to be confident that this was an articulate and intelligent girl Who had clearly thought very hard about what she wanted,” said lawyer Rob George.
To cryogenically freeze a body, the patient should be pronounced dead as soon as possible, after the clinical death. So when this young girl died in London on October 17th, the first step was to immediately cool the body using an ice bath.
The blood is then flushed out and replaced with a special non-toxic anti-freeze, to prevent ice crystals forming which would damage the cells. After that, the body is packed in dry ice for transportation.
When it arrives at the final destination, the body is slowly cooled down to even lower temperatures over several days and then placed in a storage tank filled with liquid nitrogen.
Many experts say cryogenics has never been proven to work, remaining in the realm of science fiction:
“In a sense, Cryonic patients are refugees from the present because they won’t survive if they stay here and it’s a very uncertain trip to the future (Could end here). But that might still be a bit better, to be in an uncertain alien future than being dead,” said Anders Sandberg, Computational Neuroscientist at Oxford University.