The first human head transplant proposed in the near future!

SS Kumar By SS Kumar, 10th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

An article has appeared in the newspapers today that a Russian doctor intends to transplant a whole new head onto a person. This is my article penned in 2006. Sharing with you!


It was nearly a year before, when a French lady was bitten by her dog badly mauling her face and the news papers agog with world’s first face transplant. Similar news has yet again appeared in the front pages after a chinese, Li Gupxing received a partial face transplant at Xijing Hospital in Xi'an, China.

Certainly, the press must have had enough reasons to have accorded the top position to yet another anticipated medical marvel. Just a few days ago I read that the US Health Department has accorded approval for insertion of fully mechanical hearts on humans, conferring near immortality. At least the lable “heartless” may soon be obliterated from the dictionary. Be that as it may, I let my mind to wander on the present issue of full face transplants, soon might even lead to full head transplants in the not so distant future.

The question uppermost in my mind was the relation between mind and brain. Whether mind is a part of the brain or is related to the divine matter called ‘atma’ or soul, completely independent of the human physiology. With full head transplants, the vexed question dodging logical conclusions may soon be answered. I was imagining myself as a recipient of a transplant, carrying the head of a genius like, say, Einstein, and that if I would start decoding complex scientific theories even while at my hospital bed, or the Einstein could succumb to your humble self merely acting as my usual below average dud, shaming the face of the genius. I could not resist at the temptation of transgressing further on the issue. Several scenarios blinked.

The advancement of science could make the transplants even simpler than anticipated. Head could be fully transplanted like you get hair transplants, out from the surgical table in a few hours! One could even re-transplant one own discarded head back, if the fit is not to one’s taste. There could be ‘Head banks’ offering to sell many variety of heads off-the-shelf. Why, for those who cannot afford, or for those who believe in several changes, there can be head lending libraries too, facilitating several optional features. Science can life can get curiouser.

Will there be need for passports with photos at all ? May be there would be DNA maps on the passports instead of photographs. Cornea and fingerprint matching for security would become en passé, for you may have somebody else’s eyes or hands just for a change. If a criminal’s head who had been killed in an ‘encounter’ is transplanted on another person, before being convicted in a court of law, whether the second person could be charged for the criminal acts of the former? Whether it will be the brain which planned the crime, or the hands which committed the crime that will be deemed to be the real criminal, when they might have belonged to different individuals before? Laws may have to be re-written.

Shortages of heads of one sex need not lead to any crisis, as men could don heads of women and vice versa , leading to new pages in Vatsyayana. The Dinoires who could be mauled by their labradors in the future can as a matter of teaching a lesson or two can penalise the canines with their own mauled face.

Question of scheduled castes and tribes would still divide our country further, with mix and match torsos and heads belonging to the upper and the backward classes and vice versa throwing newer question, as a whole new class could be included in the constitution, which can be debated in the Parliament and courts for yet another few decades. The disfigured faces of the rich when transplanted with the ‘Below Poverty Line’ may still look disfigured and multiple organs from different faces can be chosen to have the perfect face, leading to the emergence of a truly, multi lingual, multi cultural, multi ethnic and multi racial society. I dare not think of a multi religious body, for reasons obvious!

The picture of wily politicians with transplanted heads are still confounding, and I am unable to fathom as to which way their allegiance could change. In this case it may not be the face or the body, but in the crafty uniqueness with their genes!

My face may not be the best, but I have lived with it and would like to die with it. I would not like to part with it either, save perhaps my eyes and other internal organs!

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author avatar Shamarie
10th Apr 2015 (#)

Wow, interesting!

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author avatar SS Kumar
11th Apr 2015 (#)

Thanks, Shamarie!

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