If you’ve ever watched a space opera or played sci-fi action video games, you’re probably somewhat aware of cryonics. Somewhere in a cold room, a vat opens and smoke spreads across the floor as a seemingly frozen human from years prior is removed and warmed back to life.
That’s essentially what Alcor, a real-world cryonics company, claims to offer. The company claims it will send a staff member to stay near a dying person for around a week before they die. Then, in a critical few moments after the ailing individual’s heart stops beating and they are pronounced legally dead, the real work begins. Within the first two hours of the patient’s death, Alcor says it will artificially restore blood circulation and breathing in order to protect critical organs like the brain. The patient is then placed into an ice bath where their blood is removed and replaced with an “organ preservation solution.”
Filled with the solution, the body is then transported to Alcor’s facilities in Arizona. It’s recommended the patient try and die near there. Once in the facilities, Alcor says it puts “cryoprotectants’ into the bloodstream in order to try and prevent total freezing which could damage organs. The patient is then cooled down to -196° C and prepares for potentially hundreds of years of waiting. Alcor believes they can effectively “pause” death. Actually reviving that cryopreserved patient, however, still remains impossible.