Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Vietnam - Head transplant operation in Vietnam planned

Dr Trinh Hong Son and Pham Sy Long

While Italian neurosurgeon Dr Sergio Canavero says a human head transplant surgery may be carried out next year in Vietnam, Vietnamese agencies say they have not been informed about this.

The Independent on September 20 quoted Dr Sergio Canavero from Turin University as reporting that the procedure could be possible as early as next year and that a hospital in Vietnam says it is willing to host the surgery.

According to the Italian surgeon, his research has shown that it is possible to connect the spinal cord – the biggest problem in attaching a new body to a human head.

Sergio Canavero and his team from South Korea conducted surgery with a small dog which was paralyzed after a neck injury and severe impact to the spine. After two weeks, the dog could move two of its legs and walk after three weeks.

Meanwhile, two Vietnamese agencies allowed by the Ministry of Health to take registrations for organ tissue donation said they had not been informed about the first human head transplant.

The agencies include the Division on Coordinating the Human Organ Transplantation at Cho Ray Hospital and the National Coordination Center for Human Organ Transplantation in Hanoi, put under the management of the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Trinh Hong Son, director of the National Coordination Center for Human Organ Transplantation, affirmed that he has not received any information about the first transplant operation from either the hospitals in Vietnam or the Italian surgeon.

“I once made scientific reports on human head transplant, but this was just research,” he said.

Meanwhile, Du Thi Ngoc Thu, head of the Division on Coordinating the Human Organ Transplantation at Cho Ray Hospital, commented that it is beyond capacity to organize a human head transplant operation and there has been no such a plan.

“This is quite a complicated procedure, and Cho Ray Hospital has not carried out any plans related to this kind of operation. I have not heard anything about this,” she said.

In August 2016, Pham Sy Long, 28, from Nghi Xuan district in Ha Tinh province, registered to have his head to be transplanted with another body.

Long was paralyzed after falling and had a spinal cord injury in 2003. At that time, he was 15 years old and a ninth grader.

Long once dreamed of becoming a cook or a soldier. However, the accident has tied his life to a wheelchair and hospital bed.

Since then, he has been practicing writing and drawing pictures with his mouth. He is optimistic and now nurtures a hope of becoming healthy thanks to the head transplant technique.

If the surgery fails, Long is willing to donate his body.

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