We're born, we live and we die. Although death is an unescapable fact, it hasn't stopped humanity from creating religious dogma to help us cope with it or elaborate burial processes in order to "somehow defy the permanence of death." There is, however, the option of cryonics which, unlike the temporary state of suspended animation soon to be found in your local E.R., will keep you frozen for the long haul, with the potential promise of a "rebirth of a younger, fitter, and not-dead you."
Not unlike Miracle Max's distinction between the stages of death in The Princess Bride, there is a very fine but very important distinction between "legally dead" and "brain dead" as it relates to cryonics. Cryonics cannot be performed on someone who is still aliveregardless of how ill, the cryonic process would kill them and that constitutes murder. Cryonic preservation practitioners therefore rely on the information-theoretic definition of death rather than the standard, legal definition.
The subject must be deemed "legally dead" by a medical professional, which denotes when the person's heart has stopped beating. Between the time that the heart stops and the brain suffers irreparable damage from oxygen starvation is when the cryonic preservation process must take place, so that the cellular brain function may someday be restarted.
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