Case Summary: A-2680

69-year old Alcor member A-2680, a neuro member, was declared legally dead on July 28, 2014 and became Alcor’s 126th patient on July 30, 2014.

On July 28, 2014, Alcor’s emergency answering service notified us that an Alcor member living in the Phoenix area had been pronounced legally dead at approximately 4:30 pm at Arizona Heart hospital. The notification came from a nurse at the hospital. The member had called 911 that afternoon with respiratory distress. He identified himself to the medics when they arrived at his home and he went into cardiac arrest sometime thereafter. He was taken to AZ Heart but they were unsuccessful in resuscitation. The nurses were in the process of calling an organ donation group in Arizona when they noticed his Alcor bracelet and called us instead. While we were discussing the patient’s cause of death with the nurse on the phone, they informed us that the Maricopa Medical Examiner’s office had just decided to take the case instead.

The assigned investigator at the ME’s office was not familiar with Alcor and would not tell us much other than he felt there were enough questions surrounding his death that it warranted an autopsy. He did say that without next-of-kin, medical records or a primary care physician to reference his medical history, he doubted they would waive the autopsy despite our request. We double-checked our files and found minimal information that would help them rule out any health problems.

In talking to the ME’s office, our primary objective was to request that a CT scan be performed of his brain rather than the invasive sectioning that results in massive damage to the brain tissue. We offered to pay and facilitate this process. After reviewing the images, if the scans in conjunction with toxicology results revealed trauma that warranted further examination, a more invasive approach would be more reasonable to investigate possible foul play.

To our pleasant surprise, the ME decided to do an external-only exam. We received A-2680 at around 3 pm on July 30 and immediately began cool down.