On switching heads

Switching Heads Twilight
Can you spot the difference? I can’t.

I don’t know if you’ve heard the news yet?  Human head transplants are now possible.  Now you can finally get the body you want with just one simple procedure.  This will completely revolutionise life as we know it.

Hang on.  Did I click on The Sun by mistake?  Nope.  It’s The Telegraph.  That’s a reputable paper, isn’t it?

Some crazy real-life Dr. Frankenstein believes it can be done.  We now finally have the technology.

Apparently it has been done on animals.  The problem is, without the ability to re-attach the spinal cord, the subject would end up paralysed.  But now we have that ability.  Of course it will be enormously complicated, but with science anything is possible.  The only obstacle still to be overcome is finances.  The operation will cost £8.5million and the good doctor cites that as his only reason for not having tried it yet.

switching heads family
Extreme role-playing never seemed to catch on as a counselling technique

So does that mean he has his human volunteers all lined up already?  Because to me THAT looks like the biggest obstacle. I can understand that some people with broken bodies or even the aged hoping to extend their life would be willing to give this a go.  But where exactly does Dr. Frankenstein plan to get donor bodies?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for organ donation and have already instructed the wife that on my demise the local mad scientists can take whatever they want (though with my eyesight they’ll probably reject my corneas).  But that will happen once I’m dead.  I’d consider giving my sister a kidney or part of my liver, but that’s as far as I’d relax that condition.

But what idiot is going to volunteer his body so they can stick someone else’s head on it?  Is that even legal?  I suppose if you’re already brain dead your body’s up for grabs, but I can’t imagine many grieving families signing off on that.  And my gut tells me for this Dr. Frankenstein grave-robbing isn’t going to cut it.  All questions about possibility and funding become moot in the face of this.

switching heads scooby doo
Scooby couldn’t put his finger on it, but he was almost sure there was something odd about the gang.

The doctor might have a point that it can improve the lives of some people – quadriplegics and the like – but only a minuscule number of these will be able to afford this surgery (as I’m pretty certain medical aid won’t cover it).  That leaves eccentric rich dudes (and gals) with delusions of living for ever, trading in their bodies for a new model every few years, which won’t help in any case as heads (and the brains inside) also age.

switching heads x-files
Believe it

In the end, there’s no medical or scientific reason for attempting something like this, aside from saying that we’ve done it, which I think is one of the dumbest reasons in the cosmos for doing something.  I have to agree with Professor Anthony Warrens from the British Transplantation Society:  “Connecting a head to a body is worthless to human beings today. The whole concept is bizarre.”

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