September 20, 2006

[Insert Penis Here]

Naturally Bill Saletan has the most interesting take on the transplant of a penis in China, where naturally getting penises transplanted should be a top public health priority. His links are great but here's the stub [ok that's a technical term in Wiki so don't get all stiff on me]:
Chinese doctors performed the world's first documented penis transplant. An unexplained accident left the patient with a "small stump," unable to urinate properly or have sex. Doctors gave him the penis of a brain-dead man whose parents agreed to donate it. Good news: After 10 days, he could "urinate smoothly" and showed no signs of tissue rejection. Bad news: After two weeks, "because of the wife's psychological rejection as well as the swollen shape of the transplanted penis," the organ "regretfully had to be cut off." Upbeat conclusion: We're figuring out the human body. Skeptical conclusion: We still have no clue about the human mind. (For updates on the world's first two face transplants, click here, here, and here. For Human Nature's take on genital mutilation, click here.)
And no, we will not have a special issue on this. Faces was where we stopped. We quickly learned that we were in fact driving the increased publicity for the face transplant debate, which led to a movie deal and horrific and stupid conversation about what could and should have been the sort of issue that was discussed in our issue, but which got covered because every reporter on the planet saw the pretty cover and press release from us and suddenly the obscure little IRB protocol in Cleveland was big news. Oops. We all went limp over that.

View blog reactions

| More