No, this isn’t the plot to a sci-fi movie, it’s totally real life. a 14-year-old cancer patient has won the right to be frozen in time and brought back to life at a later date.
The girl, from London, had a rare form of cancer and took legal action to get her wish of being cryogenically frozen, when her divorced parents were involved in a dispute over what to do with her remains once she’d passed away.
She requested that a High Court judge rule that her mother – who supported her decision – would be the only one to decide what happens to her body once she’s deceased. The girl had not had any face-to-face contact with her father for eight years and had chosen for him not to receive any details of her illness, or have the opportunity to see her body after she died.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson made the ruling in October but the case had been kept very secret as the girl felt that any media reporting on it whilst she was alive would cause too much distress.
Mr Justice Jackson took time out to visit her in hospital. He had been touched by how she dealt with the situation and was moved by the “valiant way” in which she had faced her “predicament.”
He said that this case raised new questions science posed to lawyers and that he himself had made decisions based on the dispute between the girl’s parents – not the subject of ethics related to cryogenics.
The judge was confident that the girl had done her research and knew what cryogenic preservation would involve. He felt that there was no doubt over her mental capacity to launch legal action and that she was determined, even though people had tried to dissuade her.
The girl was described by her lawyer as a “bright, intelligent young person” and in a letter to Justice Jackson, she clearly outlined her reasons for wanting to be cryogenically frozen:
“I have been asked to explain why I want this unusual thing done. I am only 14-years-old and I don’t want to die but I know I am going to die. I think being cry-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up – even in hundreds of years’ time. I don’t want to be buried underground. I want to live longer and I think that in the future they may find a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I want to have this chance. This is my wish.”
Her father, who had been reluctant, had a number of concerns regarding the process including the idea that, if the cryogenics were successful and the girl did indeed wake up in the future, “she may not find any relative and she may not remember things.”
The judge, although aware of his concerns, concluded that allowing the mother to make the ultimate decision would be in her best interests.
The girl’s body has now been taken to the Cryogenics Institute in Michigan, USA.