Re: headless horseman

Date: Sun Jan 07 2001 - 06:06:33 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> We have discussed the possibility of keeping a head alive
> without a body, with inconclusive results. But could a
> body theoretically be kept "alive" without a head? If
> for instance a sophisticated medical team wished to keep
> organs for later transplantation, could they whack off the
> head {for freezing purposes} sew the big neck arteries

Spike, the vascular system is not designed to be easily
interfaced with cannulas & Co. "Whack off" (<-blame Spike, not
me) the head is hence *not* a good idea.

> into the big neck veins, sew a pipe onto the trachea, force
> air in and out, occasionally insert a smaller tube inside the
> air tube, squirt in premasticated food, etc.

Lifetime of a coma human on ventilator is several months,
with optimal care. You have to constantly battle respiratory
infections, because you don't get bronchial secret out of
your system in a natural (cough, cough) way.

(Btw, inserting the gastric tube is best done once. And
you better check that the end is indeed where you think it
is, or very bad things will start happening).

Then there are bed sores. Atrophy. Etc. So it doesn't work
as you think you would. Keeping apneic comatose people alive
shows the limitations of the state of the art.
> Would the decapitated heart continue to beat? Would
> the digestive system continue to digest? spike

Good question. Have you heard about "Mike the Headless Chicken"?

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