Will ObamaCare Cover Head Transplants?

Animal testing: In 1970 Dr Robert White transplanted the head of one monkey onto the body of another, as shown in this diagram. If Spiridonov's head were to be successfully transplanted his jugular vein and spinal cords would have to be similarly fused with those of his new donor body

Will ObamaCare cover head transplants? If not, will Obama change his mind? Republicans hope so and have volunteered Ted Cruz as donor.


PUBLISHED: 12:33 EST, 9 June 2015 | UPDATED: 06:59 EST, 10 June 2015

The man volunteering to be the guinea pig for pioneering head transplant surgery is flying to America this week to meet for the first time the doctor intending to give him a new body.

Russian Valery Spiridonov will appear at a major medical conference in Annapolis with Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero, who hopes to convince the medical establishment that his techniques are on the brink of viability.

But he prepared to fly to New York today, one of Moscow’s top surgeons branded the £9.8million ($15million) head transplant plan ‘reckless’, claiming the medic – who has been labelled Dr Frankenstein by critics – is nowhere near being ready to undertake such a complex operation.

Spiridonov, a 30-year-old sufferer of Werdnig-Hoffman disease, has publicly volunteered to be first patient, saying he is aware of the risks.

He told MailOnline: ‘I am flying to New York and then will go to Annapolis to take part in the scientific conference with the surgeon Sergio Canavero.

‘We will be together on stage. It will be a joint presentation. I will speak for myself.

‘I do hope that my trip and my participation in this conference will help to push the idea of this surgery, to persuade the medical world and to make sure we have support from the scientific community.’

Spiridonov, seen as a child in new pictures released to Mailonline, will tell the gathering that he hopes his head will be transplanted onto a physically fit body within two years. Such surgery would be a medical sensation.

‘I am not in a hurry to be operated on, but if all goes according to our plan, the surgery will take place in two years from now, sometime in 2017,’ he said.

‘The place of the surgery will very much depend on how this conference goes. Preferably, the operation would be done in the USA.

Valeri Spiridonov set up to undergo world’s first head transplant

Severely physically handicapped, Spiridonov received worldwide coverage when he volunteered as a guinea pig for the operation.

His disease means he suffers severe muscle weakness, which can result in problems moving, eating, breathing and swallowing, according to NHS Choices.

Most people with Werdnig-Hoffman, also known as spinal muscular atrophy, die within the first few years of life, but Spiridonov is among the 10 per cent who survive into adulthood.