This is how disaster begins.
A Chinese doctor has announced plans to perform a head transplant.
That’s right – a head transplant. Doctor Ren Xiaoping – dubbed “Dr. Frankenstein” by the media – has said he is currently in the process of preparing a team to undergo this historic and medically unnecessary procedure.
An Italian doctor – Doctor Sergio Canavero – announced similar plans last year, but has not performed the procedure as of yet. The two of them have agreed to collaborate on the project.
News of the doctor’s plans have been met largely with criticism. Many medical professionals say that the procedure is implausible. While the plan to reconnect the blood vessels may work, some say it’s not possible to reconnect a completely detached spine.
Others have approached the issue from an ethical standpoint. Dr. Ren has previously performed a similar procedure on a monkey. While the monkey was alive for 20 hours after the operation, it had to be put down for ‘ethical reasons’.
Some experts have said that it’s improbable that a brain would accept a new host body and that it could result in insanity or severe mental health issues.
There is also a general concern for China’s poor track record with medical ethics. Some fear that criticism, no matter how loud or where it comes from, may not deter Dr. Ren from carrying out his pet project.
Dr. Ren and Dr. Canavero are proceeding with plans to perform the surgery in 2017: