An unnamed 14-year-old British girl who suffered – and recently succumbed to – terminal cancer, has won the right to freeze her body on the off chance that it may be resurrected in the future.
The girl’s mother fully supported her daughter’s decision to do with her body what she wished, however the child’s father was vehemently against the idea.
After taking to the Internet to investigate freezing a body after death, the child wrote to the court her final wish for her body, taking agency for herself. She stated in a letter:
“I have been asked to explain why I want this unusual thing done. I’m only 14 years old and I don’t want to die, but I know I am going to. I think being cryo‐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 and live longer and I think that in the future they might find a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I want to have this chance. This is my wish.”
After the girl’s death, her body was transported to the United States from her home in London, where it will be frozen for an undetermined amount of time. It is assumed the frozen body will remain until her body can possibly be restored or it is no longer feasible to continue to hold it.
The fee for remaining in the cryogenic chamber was £37,000, or about $46,000 USD. Although the family didn’t have the money out of pocket, they were able to raise the funds together before the child’s death.
Justice Peter Jackson, who made the ruling, says that this case may actually bring about regulations for cryogenically freezing people in the future. He stated that although everything went in accordance with the child’s wishes and she died peacefully knowing she would be frozen, the process was still very messy and difficult for everyone involved:
“However, the note makes unhappy reading in other ways. The trust expresses very real misgivings about what occurred on the day of (her) death.
On (her) last day, her mother is said to have been preoccupied with the post-mortem arrangements at the expense of being fully available to (her).
The voluntary organisation is said to have been under-equipped and disorganised, resulting in pressure being placed on the hospital to allow procedures that had not been agreed.
Although the preparation of (her) body for cryogenic preservation was completed, the way in which the process was handled caused real concern to the medical and mortuary staff.”
If successful, Jackson also has other misgivings about the child’s welfare. As a 14-year-old who has been resurrected, she will presumably awaken in another country with all of her relatives and friends having passed away a century or two ago.
“She may be left in a desperate situation,” he stated of the girl’s uncertain future.