Brainteaser tests body of evidence

30.08.47: ONE OF THE first women to have had a revolutionary 'head transplant' has discovered that her donor torso is pregnant.

The child inside her body is being claimed by another woman. A court in Cleveland, Ohio, is to rule on the case tomorrow.

Anna Hengvist, who was a recovering quadriplegic, had contracted an antibiotic-resistant liver infection.

'It was so unfair,' she said. 'The growth facilitators were beginning to knit my spine back together when I got a life-threatening infection.'

This was when Dr Charles White, of Case University in Cleveland, stepped in with a head transplant proposal.

Head transplants, which had been a key interest of Dr White's grandfather, are unnecessary now thanks to improved body repair techniques. But in Hengvist's case it seemed the only option.

The body donor was a pregnant woman who had been declared brain-dead.

'That woman has stolen my daughter's body,' said the donor's mother. 'The baby comes from her egg. She is my grandchild and I demand custody.'

An expert witness for the defence, neurocyber specialist Dr Massimo Scolari argues that the only real test of identity is self-consciousness.

'Machines can perform most bodily functions, so the body isn't crucial to a person's identity.'

The prosecution has argued that the donor could to all intents and purposes be considered still alive. JB

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