30 year old Valery Spiridonov has volunteered to become the first person in the world to undergo a complete head transplant. As in quite literally his head on another persons body.
30 year old Spiridonov suffers with Werdnig-Hoffman disease and his health is rapidly declining, it’s because of this he is willing to commit himself to this surgery, which will in fact probably go wrong.
The operation will be carried out by Italian surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero, in what he expects to be a 36-hour procedure involving 150 doctors and nurses. He hopes to complete the operation in 2017.
Fusing a head with a separate body (including spinal cord, jugular vein etc) could result in a hitherto never experienced level and quality of insanity.
Spiridonov is prepared for the possibility that the body will reject his head and he will die, his fate could be considerably worse than death.
“I would not wish this on anyone,” said Dr Hunt Batjer, president-elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons.
“I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.”
Director of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Centre Arthur Caplan, described Dr Canavero as “nuts”, he believes that the bodies of head transplant patients: “would end up being overwhelmed with different pathways and chemistry than they are used to and they’d go crazy.”
A head transplant was performed on a monkey 45 years ago in 1970. It lived, but only for eight days, with the body rejecting the new head and the monkey being left unable to breathe and unable to move because the spinal cord of the head and body were not connected properly.