Human Head Transplant

With the approach of 2017, we look at Canavero’s mad ambition to replace a human head with another. His “franken” leap in medical science will take place in China as the West frets over ethical issues, amongst other concerns. Not only will it be the most expensive surgery, it will also be a long and costly, mind-boggling road to recovery.

Regarding this controversial attempt at playing God, there are several concerns, one of which he seemed to have replied with nonchalance.

1. If the recipient later fathers a child, will the child be his? Canavero replied candidly that it simply would not be his. In fact, he delighted over the fact that the donor would be able to have a descendent, posthumously. One can already forsee legal and sociological problems. Yet, how different is it from men who adopt, or father a child from his spouse’s previous marriage/relationship? 

2. Is the cost of surgery and recovery care justifiable? In answer, we ask “Is the cost of sending men to space justifiable?” For the progression of Science and increment of possibilities and opportunities, yes.

3. If successful, how does a man’s need for a body trump the needs of a few others? The fact that the entire body will be transplanted to a head will necessarily deny others of lungs, heart, liver, etc. The recipients of organs are determined by the urgency of their need, and the viability of the transplantation. In accordance with this sound medical practice, the tetraplegic/paraplegic will not get his turn, especially when the transplantation of body is more likely to fail than transplantation of a single organ. 

4. Is this a head or body transplantation? What is transplanted is technically the head, according to the surgical plan of decapitation and reattachment. However, as the mind controls all bodily functions, it can be said that the head has received a new body. Furthermore, the purpose of the surgery is to offer physical movement to tetraplegics/paraplegics. Hence, it may be argued that this is a body transplantation.

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