There are certain things in life that seem too bizarre to be true: This is one of those things.
A British teenager’s body has been cryogenically frozen after the 14-year-old, who suffered from cancer, stated in court that she wanted to try to live again in the future when the disease is cured.
The girl’s request swayed judge Peter Jackson to grant her wish in what he said was the first case of its kind in England, and possibly the world. According to Jackson, the girl chose the most basic preservation option, which cost about $46,000.
The case went to court because the girl’s parents, who are divorced, disagreed about whether she should be frozen. The girl’s mother was in favor of the procedure, while her father had concerns over whether it would work, and if it did, what would happen if she woke up in the U.S., where her body was taken to be preserved, without any relatives to help her. “She may be left in a desperate situation,” he said, noting that she would still only be 14.
However, he ended up changing his mind right before his daughter’s death, 11 days after the judge ruled in her favor. “This is the last and only thing she has asked from me,” he said.
According to CNN, the girl’s body is now at the Cryonics Institute in Michigan.
The institute says on its website that it is a “non-profit membership organization made up of people seeking to pursue cryonics’ ‘Prospect of Immortality’ for themselves and their families. Our objective is not profit, but to help our members who choose cryopreservation to have an opportunity live again to see a brighter future.”
According to the Institute, more than 100 “patients” are currently frozen. “We recognize the responsibility we have to not only maintain, but to eventually revive our patients when and if that becomes scientifically possible,” the website reads. “This is the driving force that guides every decision we make. We want cryonics to work and we are dedicated to achieving that singular goal.” The institute states on its FAQ page that the cryonics technique involves cooling a legally-dead person’s body and storing it at liquid nitrogen temperature, at which physical decay stops.
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It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., says there might be something to it. “There has been some substantial research into cryogenic preservation,” she says. “Leading hypothermia researchers at University of Pennsylvania have stated several times that they think it is theoretically quite possible and will likely be something we may see used in the future.”
The girl’s lawyer told the AP that the knowledge that she would be cryogenically preserved “brought her great comfort.”