Johannesburg, 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.”
“This procedure is another excellent example of how medical research, technical know-how and patient-centered care can be combined in the quest to relieve human suffering.”
Doctors say Horner has made an 85% recovery; walking, talking and doing the normal things a healthy individual does.
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The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, nicknamed Joburg Gen is an accredited general hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. It has 1,088 beds. The hospital’s professional and support staff exceeds 4,000 people.
Even though Horner lives in the United States, the first-of-its-kind operation had to be done overseas in a location where the medical guidelines are not as strict.