This touches on an ongoing debate around the definition of death, which is particularly feisty around the question of brain death. (*warning, this is going to get a little yucky)

Brain death has been challenged as being 'death' because the heart still beats, and the lungs still breathe, albeit with mechanical assistance. However the somewhat gruesome point has been made that if a brain dead person still technically qualifies as 'alive' because their heart is beating and their lungs are inflating, then the same argument could be made about a decapitated body whose vital functions are also artificially sustained by technology.

This has prompted the 'Where's Wally' thought experiment: if the unfortunate Wally is separated into an artificially-sustained body, and an artificially-sustained head, where is Wally?

The answer for most people would be that Wally remains with the head, not the body.

I would suggest the same applies in this situation.


On 26 February 2015 at 12:13, Glenn Conroy <> wrote:

fy discussion if you choose

Doctor plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body using procedures he believes will soon be ready

My question is simple and complex "Whose identity would it be for the patient who recovers (would they ever truly recover) from this medical procedure?

Glenn Conroy

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The End: The Human Experience of Death (Random House Australia, May 2013), Twitter: @TheEndBook

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