A man who volunteered to have his entire head put on a new body faces a fate worse than death, an expert has warned, while the surgeon set to do it has been described as ‘nuts’.
Valery Spiridonov, who suffers from the debilitating Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, says he is happy to have the experimental surgery carried out despite the risks it carries.
But Dr Hunt Batjer, president elect of the American Association for Neurological Surgeons, says it is too risky.
Dr Batjer told CNN: ‘I would not wish this on anyone.
‘I would not allow anyone to do it to me as there are a lot of things worse than death.’
It is feared that it could cause the 30-year-old patient to suffer levels of insanity never experienced before.
The operation is set to be done by Italian surgeon Dr Sergio Canavero, who will head a 150-strong team of doctors and nurses.
But Dr Canavero was described as ‘nuts’ by Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Centre.
After it was announced the experimental operation will be carried out, he warned head transplant patients ‘would end up being overwhelmed with different pathways and chemistry than they are used to and they’d go crazy’.
Dr Canavero is raising funds for the operation.
Church leaders have also hit out at the operation.
A head transplant was carried out on a monkey 45 years go, but it lived for just eight days after the body rejected the new head.
The animal was left unable to breathe and unable to move as the spinal chord was not connected properly.