A 14 year old girl who wanted her body preserved for resurrection, has won a historic legal case shortly before she died. The girl who was terminally ill with a rare cancer, supported by her mother had asked the court to allow for her body frozen through the process of cyonics.
The ruling however was not based on the legality or otherwise of the process but on which parents’ decision should be upheld as the girl’s father was against the preservation.
He said: “Even if the treatment is successful and she is brought back to life in let’s say 200 years, she may not find any relative and she might not remember things. “She may be left in a desperate situation given that she is only 14 years old and will be in the United States of America.”
The father was said to have however changed his mind saying that he respected the wishes of his daughter. A High Court judge ruled that the girl’s mother should be allowed to decide what happened to the body.
The girl died in October but details of her case were just recently released and reported by the BBC. Cryonics is the process of freezing and preserving a whole body in the hope that resuscitation and a cure are possible in the distant future.
The girl had written to the Judge saying that she wanted to live longer and does not want to be buried underground.
“I think being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up – even in hundreds of years’ time.”
The judge, Mr Justice Peter Jackson who admitted to have been moved by the girl said that his ruling was not about the rights or wrongs of cryonics but about a dispute between parents over the disposal of their daughter’s body.
The judge said the girl’s application was the only one of its kind to have come before a court in England and Wales – and probably anywhere else.
Mr Justice Jackson said the case was an example of science posing new questions to lawyers. Cryonics is a controversial procedure and no-one yet knows if it is possible to revive people once their bodies are frozen.
There are facilities in the US and Russia where bodies can be preserved in liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures (less than -130C) – but not in the UK.
The cost of freezing a body for an infinite amount of time is estimated to be around £37,000 according to the BBC.