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What Do Standby Teams Do?

Everything you need to know about standby teams - and how they reach you quickly.

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At the time of your legal death, having someone by your side who can initiate cryopreservation is extremely important. After all, if the initial procedures are started with minimum delay after circulatory arrest, there is less ischaemic damage. Greater preservation of the brain means that more of what makes your personality is stored.

For this reason, Tomorrow Bio has organized and trained special teams of medical professionals that are available 24/7 to be dispatched to a patient’s location. Members of these teams, called SST (standby, stabilization & transportation) teams, are able to perform field cryopreservation. The faster the team can reach a patient and start the procedure, the higher the quality of cryopreservation. 

At the moment, we have a standby team based in Berlin and one in Amsterdam through a partner. Coming soon we will have a third team at EBF’s storage facility in Rafz, Switzerland. Our teams cover all of Europe and can be dispatched to other locations if necessary. Finally, a fourth team will be located in the US.

 

What Is a SST or Standby Team?

SST teams are composed of doctors, EMTs, or personnel specifically trained for cryopreservation procedures. They are armed with the latest equipment in order to carry out the initial step of a high quality cryopreservation independent of location. Standby teams are typically deployed by your cryonics provider to you before your death. Some providers have no inhouse team so, if you are signed up with them, you need to arrange SST with a third party organization. 

Ideally, as most deaths have pre-warning, they are informed in advance and are by your bedside once you are declared legally dead. The teams also play a key role in safely transporting you to your long-term storage facility.

Some teams operate using specialized biostasis ambulances equipped with all the technology required to carry out these initial procedures. However, if you are somewhere less accessible, they can use other modes of transport to reach you as quickly as possible.

This article will help you learn more about the role that standby teams play in your transportation and cryopreservation.

 

Ambulance used by standby teams
Tomorrow Bio biostasis ambulance - equipped for field cryopreservation

What Does a Tomorrow Bio Standby Team Do?

Arrival

Ideally, our standby team will be dispatched to you in the days leading up to your death. If your death is unexpected, we have several emergency notification systems in place so that they will reach you quickly.

When possible, they will travel to your location with our biostasis response ambulance, equipped for field cryopreservation. If you are inaccessible by car, then the team will deploy via other means, e.g. commercial flight or private medical jet. In these cases, they will bring our portable equipment and perform on-site cryoprotection.

Introduction of Cryoprotectants

One of the initial steps after your legal death is cooling down your body by placing you in a water and ice bath. Low temperatures are important because they reduce your metabolism and cell decay. At lower temperatures, cells require less oxygen to survive, and so your bodily degradation is drastically slowed down.

In ideal cases, the SST team injects you with heparin (an anticoagulant) to prevent your blood from clotting. To spread the heparin through your body and keep oxygenated blood moving to slow down cell degradation, cardio-pulmonary support (CPS) is performed. CPS is similar to CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) however the key difference is that the former isn’t trying to revive the patient. To do this, the team uses an automated chest compression device.

At this point, the standby team perfuses your body with medical-grade antifreeze substances, known as cryoprotectant agents (or CPAs). CPAs replace water molecules in the body and lower the freezing point. This prevents the formation of ice crystals. You can now be stored at extremely low temperatures with minimal ice damage.‍

Transportation

Once your body has been completely perfused and your temperature is stable, the SST team can transport your body to our long-term storage facility. Depending on the location, the team will use our equipped ambulance or dispatch you by other means of transportation. On the journey, your body is continuously cooled. 

Tomorrow Bio is partnered with the European Biostasis Foundation (EBF), a non-profit organization based in Rafz, Switzerland. EBF provides the facility for long-term care of Tomorrow Bio’s patients, and the laboratory for biostasis research.

At the facility, a medical team awaits the arrival of your body. They will place you inside a cooling chamber, where your core temperature is lowered down to -196°C during the span of a week. By lowering the temperature below the so-called glass-transition temperature, you are vitrified. Only then you will be ready for entering your cryogenic storage dewar, where you will remain cryopreserved until future revival.

Inside of the ambulance used by standby teams
Inside of Tomorrow Bio ambulance, ready for SST

 

Alternative Support

Voluntary standby teams operate in many countries and large cities across the world to help with initial procedures. Getting in contact with your local team, or letting them know you have signed up for human cryopreservation could help in the case of your sudden death.

Voluntary teams do not work on behalf of any cryonics provider. Instead, they assist with the initial stages when the named SST team is not present at the moment of legal death.  For all those who want to be able to provide initial support, we have prepared a cryopreservation first aid kit with all the necessary equipment. Have a look at this article to find out more.

Why Standby Teams Are Important

Fast response is crucial for high quality cryopreservation. When the heart stops beating and pumping blood, the body's cells do not get the oxygen they need to function. You enter a state called ischemia: when cells start consuming their own proteins, until they eventually die. 

Minimizing oxygen starvation means that future technology won’t need to be as advanced to treat and eventually revive you. 

Conclusion

Tomorrow Bio standby teams are always on-call. They will reach your location when needed, and provide you with the highest quality cryopreservation possible. Obviously, timing is crucial and there are things you can do from your side to legally ensure there won’t be any delay the moment you will need our SST services.

 

Most importantly, keep your biostasis provider in the loop regarding any deterioration in your medical conditions or risky surgical operation. Acting swiftly after legal death leaves your body in a better condition for future revival. The less damage caused, the sooner medical technology might be able to treat your diseases and wake you up.

Now, you may still have doubts and questions about our services. Visit our online editorial Tomorrow Insight to find detailed articles on all aspects of cryopreservation. What products do we offer? What equipment do we use? What are Tomorrow Bio CPAs? And don’t forget to join our Discord server and chat with us and other people interested in cryonics.

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