My medical thriller, Heads Will Roll, features a doctor who is desperate to get his long overdue fame, fortune, and recognition by performing a successful head transplant surgery. There’s only one problem: Dr. Farkis’ clandestine operations – performed in an abandoned warehouse in California and an underground bunker in Japan – have failed at least twenty-five times. And the trail of bodies keeps piling up.​

I began thinking about this subject after listening to a story on BBC about head transplants.  I was intrigued.  What if, in the near future, we could choose the body we wanted?  We could visit a store front, much like a neighborhood mom-and-pop shop, and we’d see all the available bodies lined up in a glass-enclosed case. We’d be able to choose the body that we favored, purchase it, have an operation, and wham bam! wake up with our new body.

Of course, this is all fiction . . . Or is it?

While researching for Heads Will Roll, I came across articles about a real-life doctor who is planning to perform the world’s first head transplant surgery. Yes, you read that right.​

Heads will Roll by Joanie Chevalier

Who is this doctor?​

His name is Dr. Sergio Canavero, and he plans on performing the procedure alongside a team of Chinese surgeons lead by Dr. Xiaoping Ren, who has reportedly performed “around 1,000 head transplants on mice.”  In an interview, Dr. Canavero states: “I know it’s hard,” he says. “It’s hard to swallow, I understand that, it’s crazy. Sometimes, when I look at it, I say, ‘Will mankind be able to handle this?’”​

Get your wallets out.  If you need, or want, such an operation, it will cost you a whopping $11 million. It will take approximately 150 surgeons and at least 36 hours to complete.​

Will this procedure end up being another avenue for a quick fix of imagined or made-up flaws for the rich and famous?

Even if Dr. Canavero and his team are successful, a single-word inquiry comes up – Why? The honorable answer is that we’d hope an operation like this would help those who have untreatable neurological or muscle-wasting diseases; in other words, paralyzed bodies.

​However, as we know all too well, human nature is fickle, and narcissism and our instant gratification society wouldn’t allow this to be coveted by only wheelchair-bound, paralyzed people now, would it?  This may be a new opportunity for rich people who hate their bodies enough to suffer pain (not to mention a huge ugly scar around their neck), and a three-week coma.​​

If someone could pick out a body, be it skinnier, shapelier, or more athletic than theirs, and fuse their head onto it, do you think the new idea would spread like wildfire, or simply smoulder like a green piece of wet wood in a campfire?​

And then there’s always the question: Would you participate in the madness?

Joanie Chevalier

See more articles about Dr. Canavero at my website blog:

Heads Will Roll: A Medical Thriller

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