France, Dec. 2 – The world’s first person to wear a new face awoke in
the northern city of Amiens, France,
on Monday – 24 hours after doctors put her to sleep – and looked in the
The swollen nose, lips and chin she saw there were not her own – those
had been ripped from her head by her pet Labrador retriever in May -
but they were a blessing for a woman whose face had become a lipless
She took a pen and paper and wrote for the doctors, "Merci."
Those doctors on Friday defended their rush to give the woman a new face,
despite the enormous risks of death and psychological difficulties posed
by the procedure, just months after her disfigurement. They dismissed assertions
that they were bent on glory at the patient’s expense.
New York Times
As the accompanying diagram clearly shows, the mania
for transplants has reached the point where virtually every part of the
body is theoretically available for transplant replacement. A scary thought…
The problem is not the tricky surgical techniques necessary
to effect such operations. With nano-technology, computer-assisted
scalpels and imaging, and fantastic new anti-rejection drugs (the Dowbrigade
has been using those since high school) the reality is that if anything
goes – it can be replaced.
No, the problem is where all of the replacement
parts are going to come from. We had this debate – human cloning
for replacement parts – in class last week, and the conclusion was that
was a great idea, as long as you could grow the clones as a sort of brainless
sack of organs – no mind, no awareness, no soul, just a meat locker of
At the same time, we know that somewhere, in a magnificently
equipped bleeding edge high-tech laboratory buried under a mountain or
in a super-secure bunker on a black op military base in some third world
dictatorship, there is a crack team of transplant specialists working
on effecting the ultimate transplant – the Brain Transplant.
This is the Big Kahuna – the final frontier in transplant
technology. Swapping brains – or complete heads – has been a science-fiction
fantasy since the times of the Greeks. Who would want a head transplant?
Well, duh – just every egomaniacal multi-Billionaire
is afraid of
live forever, and is willing to spend every last ill-gotten dime accumulated
over a lifetime of avarice, manipulation and extortion to the cause of
cheating the big "D".
Imagine being able to grow unlimited replacement bodies,
young, strong and strapping, fit as fiddles and ready for action. One
complicated but scientifically feasible operation to swap the brainpans,
and you would be good to go – for another 40 or 50 years, easy. Who wouldn’t
want to live forever in a young, healthy, handsome body?
Unscrupulous and locally omnipotent leaders would not
even have to wait 16 years to grow a replacement body from their own
cloned cells – they could recruit prime physical "volunteers" from within
and get them to swap bodies "for the good of the Republic." Benevolent
dictators might give the unfortunate donors a few short, sweet years
of continued existence in the leader’s old, worn-out bodies – complete
with 40 Virgins (which they probably won’t be able to do anything with
in those decrepit, used-up shells), unlimited luxury, medals and honors,
and the best pain-killing drugs.
Given the surfeit of suicide bombers, can anyone doubt
the potential availability of patriotic body donors?
This is the logical and inevitable endpoint of all of
the advances in transplant techniques over the past 60 years. It may
have already been attempted, or even perfected, although the parties
involved would understandably want to keep things under wraps until modern
morality catches up with medical advances. But think of the possibilities. We
might still be dealing with President Bush in the 23rd century. Now that’s
a scary thought indeed….