might want to weigh in on the release of a plan to provide a new body
to a Russian man suffering from the rare muscle wasting disease,
Werdnig-Hoffmann disease. Commentators speculate that the proposed
fusion of “Mr. Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist from
Vladimir, Russia” to a donor body is unlikely to ever actually be
performed due to the seeming unlikely odds
that the technical challenges could be overcome. Nonetheless, this
extreme experimental undertaking raises important ethical questions
about how far to press the boundaries of surgery. At one time,
hemicorporectomy surgery was proposed as theoretically feasible, and
though the suggestion was laughed at initially, this procedure has now
been done successfully multiple times, albeit with significant risk of
mortality. If we are indeed embarking on a new path where the head of
one living being can be transplanted onto another, we must attend to the
underlying values that we ascribe to mind, body, and personhood.
The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.