You may remember that when famous baseball player Ted Williams died, his body was sent to the Alcor Life Extension cryonics company to be kept frozen until such time as medical advances could bring him back to life. Reportedly Williams’ head is being kept frozen separate from the rest of his body.
Alcor Life Extension Foundation and other cryonics companies store a body in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of minus 196 degrees Celcius in order to preserve the cells and DNA until science enables people to reverse their death. Such a procedure costs upwards of $150,000.
In Tampa Florida recently there was a case of first impression dealing with a similar situation. A 48 year old man who was found dead in his apartment had a medical bracelet on with instructions not to embalm him or to perform an autopsy. Since his death was suspicious, the county medical examiner wanted to perform an autopsy but the autopsy was suspended when a call came from a cryonics company, the same company that houses Ted Williams remains, and requested that the body not be autopsied as that would affect the man’s hopes of someday being brought back to life. Both sides went to court and the judge ruled that the autopsy would be performed and then the body would be released for whatever disposition the family chose. The medical examiner did agree however to try to minimize the dissection of the body to aid in the probability that the body could at some point be restored to life.
Unique wishes like those of this individual should definitely be clearly set out in a health care directive. In the case of Ted Williams, family members were in disagreement as to whether this was something the baseball celebrity really wanted. If you have unusual wishes about the disposition of your remains, services, or such things as embalming, cremation, or burial, be sure you have executed an Advance Health Care Directive that sets forth your wishes. If you don’t have an Advance Health Directive and would like one drafted to set forth your wishes, call us at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation.