Was the World’s First Head Transplant a Success After a Nineteen-Hour Operation?

Reports that the world's first successful human head transplant has taken place in South Africa are fake news.

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Doctors have performed the first successful human head transplant.



Coincident with then-current news that Italian physician Dr. Sergio Canavero had lined up a volunteer subject for his planned attempt at undertaking the first human head transplant, the News Examiner web site published an article reporting that such a procedure had just taken place at the Charlotte Maxexe Johannesburg Academic Hospital in South Africa:

A 36-year-old man has undergone the world’s first successful head transplant. The ground-breaking operation took a team of surgeons nineteen hours to complete and has allowed the patient to be cancer-free.Paul Horner, who was diagnosed with bone cancer five years ago, was on the verge of death when he was approved for the controversial and possibly deadly operation.

Doctor Tom Downey, who was part of the South African team who carried out the operation, told CNN he is thrilled about the results.

“It’s a massive breakthrough,” Downey said. “We’ve proved that it can be done — we can give someone a brand new body that is just as good, or better, than their previous one. The success of this operation leads to infinite possibilities.”

Dr. Canavero’s plans for effecting a human head transplant on a live patient are still in the future; no such transplant has been undertaken (successfully or otherwise) in the meanwhile. The article about the South African transplant was a just a hoax from the News Examiner, a fake news site.