News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Ethical dilemmas ahead as face transplants ahead


Media Release
For Immediate Release
24/11/2003


Major ethical dilemmas ahead as face transplants come to the fore
says University of Otago expert


Recent reports of doctors attempting a face transplant is questioning our core beliefs and begs the question: is a human face just tissue or a window to the soul? Asks Grant Gillett, Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Otago’s Medical School.

“If a living person has a severely disfigured face, is it not right that they be given the opportunity to receive a face transplant, which is simply the transfer of a piece of tissue? However, in contrast to this view, Aristotelian philosophy teaches us that an individual’s body and its functions are essential to that person’s humanity and individuality.”

Professor Gillett says while society is getting used to heart, kidney and even limb transplants, a human face is another matter.

“There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that people who have received transplanted organs have taken on traits of the donors. In the case of the face, it may be possible that facial characteristics and expressions may be transplanted as well, even though the donor face would be placed on a different bone structure,” says the University of Otago expert.

The neurosurgeon says society isn’t fully aware yet of how we respond to facial expressions and characteristics, whether they be perfectly sculpted noses or so-called imperfections like wrinkles in conveying the humanity of an individual. These are issues that go beyond conventional notions of physical appearance, and nor are they easily quantifiable.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>


Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>

ALSO:

Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland