Frozen in Time

Kim Suozzi died in January of 2013, but she may have a second chance at life—in 100 years or so. According to a recent New York Times article, Suozzi, who died at age 23 of an aggressive form of cancer, chose to have her brain cryogenically frozen in the hopes of one day being revived (possibly with her memories and personality still intact).

Suozzi and long-term boyfriend Josh Schisler were about as realistic as possible regarding the idea of cryogenics: they hoped that Kim would eventually be able to come back to life in an artificial body, using a computer to feel and sense things. Despite the decidedly unappealing prospect of living without a body (immediately after her death, Kim’s head was detached from her body in order to expedite the freezing process), Suozzi and Schisler were enthusiastic and hopeful. Said Schisler, “I just think it’s worth trying to preserve Kim.”

As is the case in many situations involving death, Kim’s loved ones were at odds with each other. Her father, who ultimately was not given power of attorney, reportedly told Kim, “Dying is a part of life…we don’t life forever.” But Kim and Josh persevered, eventually securing the money for the procedure, mostly through anonymous donations.

Currently, Kim’s brain remains frozen

at a private facility in Arizona.

Aside from the science fiction-y overtones in the article, I think the story raises some very real questions about the role of medical technology in overcoming death. Is freezing the human brain really a triumph over death? By all accounts, Kim Suozzi most definitely died on that January day. But if the possibility of coming back to life—in whatever form that may be—is real, then can we really write her off as dead? And how close is science actually to being able to achieve what Kim and Josh had hoped? I was simultaneously disturbed and intrigued by this article; I found myself wondering if in the future death will even exist at all.

One response to “Frozen in Time

  1. This particular practice can be found slightly disturbing, but it made me think that it can also serve as a visual memory for the surviving loved ones. For instance, it is a common practice to keep the remains of loved ones in the form of ashes within a household. Similar to how during neolithic times, families would keep the skulls of their deceased family members in their homes as a way to remember and worship them. And even though these deceased members were by all means dead, the physical representation gave the allusion of a living memory.

    I don’t know if science can ever eliminate the process of dying. It is after all a natural occurrence in life. Although, this does raise the question of will freezing bodies in conjunction with scientific advancements lead to beings with artificial intelligence that wear human remains?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *