North Carolina 2012: Medical Examiner persuaded by "legal input" not to perform an invasive autopsy

John Monts, A-1645, a neuro member of Alcor since January 1997, was declared clinically dead as of October 31, 2012 at age 68. He is Alcor's 113th patient.

On the afternoon of Thursday November 1, 2012, several personnel at Alcor received a Telemed emergency call and text concerning member John Monts. (Mr. Monts requested privacy prior to cryopreservation, but said his arrangements were public afterward.) Apparently Mr. Monts traveled from his home in North Carolina for dental work in his previous neighborhood in South Carolina. Sometime on the evening of October 31, he was robbed. Sometime the following morning, he was found clinically dead in his hotel room. Time of death was estimated as around 11pm by the pathologist. Whether there was any connection between the robbery and his clinical death is not known to us, but the circumstances made this a coroner's case.

The first we knew of any of this was at 2:08 pm on November 1. Max More immediately contacted one of Alcor's attorneys who has assisted in the past when we faced a coroner's case. While we pressed to limit the autopsy we also made arrangements for cooling to dry ice temperature and discussed options for transporting the patient back to Arizona intact or alternatively doing the neuro-separation on site. Aaron Drake spent considerable time talking to various people and departments at the Medical University of South Carolina - Charleston. Initially they seemed very willing to cooperate with limiting autopsy and allowing quick cooling to dry ice temperature, but a change of personnel led to complications. With our legal input, the coroner agreed to conduct a toxicology panel and external head examination while refraining from opening the skull and sectioning the brain. Mr. Monts was then released to us on the condition that we conduct a CT scan of his brain and send the results to the coroner.

Aaron flew out to Charleston on November 4 to collect Mr. Monts, who was now at dry ice temperature, buying us time. Aaron conducted the neuro-separation then, that evening, topped off the neuro shipper box with dry ice ready for shipment to Alcor the following morning. A medical emergency delayed the flight's arrival, as it was diverted to El Paso. The patient arrived in Phoenix on November 7 and reached Alcor at 6:30 am. Cooldown to liquid nitrogen temperature began shortly after. It was noted that, on November 9, the dry ice neuro shipper still had some dry ice inside, confirming our previous tests.

SOURCE: Preventing Autopsy for Alcor Member A-1645 (Case Summary)