No, this is not a joke or an onion parody. A man in Russia has actually volunteered to receive the world’s first human head transplant (or body transplant, depending on how you look at it).
Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from a rare form of spinal muscular dystrophy, recently met with Italian Dr. Sergio Canavero who has agreed to perform the 36-hour operation. The procedure will also require Spiridonov to be put in a medically induced coma for 3-4 weeks.
Spiridonov and Canavero were recently in the United States — where Canavero has said he wants to do the surgery — presenting their case to the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS).
In the latest episode of BioTalk, Chelsea Zimmerman and Rebecca Taylor talk about the ethical considerations of this and and other extremely invasive medical procedures, our tendency to treat mental diseases as physical diseases, recent comments from the Vatican on plastic surgery and how it relates to transhumanism and the importance of “bodily integrity.”
“Behind every “no” in the difficult task of discerning between good and evil, there shines a great “yes” to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence.” (Dignitas Personae, Conclusion)
“If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man’s ethical formation, in man’s inner growth (cf. Eph 3:16; 2 Cor 4:16), then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world.” (Pope Benedict, Spe Salvi, 22)
In this episode, Rebecca Taylor and I talk about scientists experimenting with “three parent embryos” and the “Brave New” United States where there are no restrictions on this or other once unthinkable kinds of human experimentation currently in practice. We also discuss the impact this kind of experimentation has on women. Ladies, pay attention. Human biotechnology is a women’s issue if ever there was one.