A 14-year-old girl has won the right to have her body cryogenically frozen.
During the last months of her life, the teenager, who had a rare form of terminal cancer, used the internet to investigate cryonics. Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of people who cannot be sustained by contemporary medicine. In freezing themselves, they hope they can be restored to full health in the far future.
Known only as JS, this 14 year old girl sent a letter to the court: “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.’ The court later ruled in the girl’s favour
This ruling is fraught with controversy. Parental consent was the key point on which the court made their decision. However, it is understood that only JS’s mother, Mrs. S, consented to the post-humorous freezing. Whereas her father, Mr. S did not. The father’s concerns were not considered by the court due to the fact he is estranged, after the parents divorced in 2002. Since 2007, Mr.S has had no contact with JS due to the wishes of her mother.
Regardless of whether this ruling by the high court was just, the consequences have now been irreversible put into action. JS died in a London hospital on October 17 and was immediately prepared for freezing by volunteers from Cryonics UK, the only British organisation working in the unregulated field of cryo-preservation, at a cost of £37,000.
Since JS’s death, Mr. S has spoken of his profound sadness that he was prevented by a judge from saying goodbye to her. Mr. S is also suffering from cancer, and spent months in the same hospital as his daughter without ever being told she was there. He is believed to blame his ex-wife for preventing him from even seeing his daughter’s body before work began to embalm and freeze it.
It is unlikely Mr. S, Mrs. S, and indeed anybody who hears this news story will ever know if this young girl’s attempt to stave off death has worked. While her death may be reversible, the pain of the family is not.