A judge in Britain has granted the wish of a 14-year-old girl who suffered from terminal cancer but wanted to be cryogenically
preserved, in what the judge called the first case of its kind in England and possibly the world.
The girl, who was not identified, told High Court Judge Peter Jackson she hoped to be brought back to life in the future, when her cancer could be cured. She died a month ago and the case was made public Friday.
The girl’s lawyer, Zoe Fleetwood, said her wishes were carried out; the teenager’s frozen body is now in the United States at a cryopreservation facility.
The 14-year-old learned of the judge’s ruling 11 days before her death, and her lawyer said the decision “gave great comfort in the last days of her life.”
Judge Jackson said he was persuaded by a letter the girl wrote, stating clearly that she wanted to try cryopreservation.
He called her a “bright, intelligent young person who is able to articulate strongly held views on her current situation.”
He said his ruling was based on what was best for the girl, and was not a ruling on the validity of cryopreservation.
Some believe that cryopreservation may allow frozen bodies to be brought back to life in the future when science has advanced.
Biological material preserved in this manner usually is frozen to the temperature of liquid nitrogen, nearly 200 degrees Celsius below zero, the temperature at which water freezes.
The girl’s divorced parents had disagreed about the procedure. He mother favored
cryopreservation once it became clear her
cancer was terminal; her father initially opposed the procedure.
*cryogenics – In physics, is the study of the
production and behaviour of materials at very low temperatures.
It is not well-defined at what point on the
temperature scale refrigeration ends and
cryogenics begins, but scientists assume it
starts at or below −150 °C (123 K; −238 °F).
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and
Technology has chosen to consider the field of cryogenics as that involving temperatures below −180 °C or −292.00 °F or 93.15 K.
This is a logical dividing line, since the normal boiling points of the so-called permanent gases (such as helium, hydrogen, neon, nitrogen, oxygen, and normal air) lie below −180 °C while the Freon refrigerants, hydrogen sulfide, and other common refrigerants have boiling
points above −180 °C. (above −150 °C,
−238 °F or 123 K).
A person who studies elements that have been subjected to extremely cold temperatures is called a cryogenicist.
Cryogenicists use the Kelvin or Rankine