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  1. #1
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Surgeons remove baby's second head

    Rare surgery performed in Egyptian hospital

    BENHA, Egypt (Reuters) -- Egyptian doctors said they removed a second head from a 10-month-old girl suffering from one of the rarest birth defects in an operation on Saturday.

    Abla el-Alfy, a consultant in pediatric intensive care, told Reuters at the hospital in Benha, near Cairo, that Manar Maged was in a serious but improving condition after the procedure to treat her for craniopagus parasiticus -- a problem related to that of conjoined twins linked at the skull.

    "We are still working on the baby. After surgery ... you get unstable blood pressure, you get fever. But she is stabilizing," Alfy said. "We have some improvement."

    As in the case of a girl who died after similar surgery in the Dominican Republic a year ago, the second twin had developed no body. The head that was removed from Manar had been capable of smiling and blinking but not independent life, doctors said.

    Video footage provided by the hospital, a national center in Egypt for children's medicine, showed Manar smiling and at ease in a cot with the dark-haired "parasitic" twin, attached at the upper left side of the girl's skull, occasionally blinking.

    After the 13-hour operation, Reuters journalists saw the baby, her head swathed in bandages and body wreathed by tubes, in an intensive care ward. A separate twin sister, Noora, is healthy after initial problems with the birth on March 30.

    Alfy said the 13-strong surgical team separated Manar's brain from the conjoined organ in small stages, cutting off the blood supply to the extra head while preventing increased blood flow to Manar's heart, which would have risked cardiac arrest.


    Benha, 40 km (25 miles) north of Cairo, was chosen for its equipment and proximity to the girl's family. "The family of the child are from near here, we have the equipment, we assembled a team, so why not have the operation here?" she said, explaining the choice not to work in Cairo or at centers abroad with more experience with conjoined twins.

    Months of preparation
    Alfy said Manar's skull had been reconstructed during surgery and her skin had been joined over the bone, leaving no need for further reconstructive surgery.

    The doctors decided not to carry out Manar's operation soon after her birth. "We studied the babies well," Alfy said. "We had to study how the blood supply of the parasite is working."

    She plans to keep Manar in intensive care for up to 10 days and remains cautious: "Things are getting better but ... at any time things can go wrong."

    The condition occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process and one of the the conjoined twins fails to develop fully in the womb.

    The second twin can form as an extra limb, a complete second body lacking vital organs, or, in very rare cases, a head.

    Last February, seven-week-old Rebeca Martinez died in the Dominican Republic after surgery to remove a second head.

    The leader of that team, Jorge Lazareff of the University of California at Los Angeles, noted on viewing one picture of the Egyptian baby that the face of the undeveloped twin was "very well developed" compared to that in Rebeca's case.

    "Rebeca ... had a more vertical sibling, whereas (in) this the second growth is tangential," he told Reuters, while noting he had not previously been aware of the Egyptian child.

    Source

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The article above states that this second head could smile and blink, both distinctly human traits. I tried this article on an abortion forum not long ago and none of the Pro-Life crowd would come near it, especially ones that support that there is life at moment of conception and said that abortion is always immoral. I wonder why?

    It is my position that they did the right thing for everyone involved. Leaving the head attached was not only very risky, but living in such a condition would no doubt make the bearer a social pariah.

    What I'm having trouble getting my head (no pun intended) around though, is how - to many Pro-Lifers - removing a glob of growing tissue at the moment it's conceived is a grave moral shortcoming, but removing a head that exhibits very human emotion is fine and dandy.

    How can they agree with this action without supporting the exact same arguments that are presented by the Pro-Choice crowd concerning abortion?

  2. #2
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    I wonder why?
    ... because you are a Godless Pagan, that's why!

    That picture was horrifying. If it was an extra limb it would be easier to take.

    "The condition occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process and one of the the conjoined twins fails to develop fully in the womb." -- I guess that means a fetus is not fully developed until it is 9 months old or delivered - whichever comes first?
    While laughing at others stupidity, you may want to contemplate your own comedic talents. (link)
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  3. #3
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by SnoopCitySid
    "The condition occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process and one of the the conjoined twins fails to develop fully in the womb." -- I guess that means a fetus is not fully developed until it is 9 months old or delivered - whichever comes first?
    Hmm...

    Interesting thought. What say, Pro-life crowd?

  4. #4
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    GP and Snoop, under that very same logic (fetus not being fully developed until after birth), one can say that a human is not really a human untill after it reaches full adulthood.

    I dont believe either to be entirely accurate, somewhat maybe but not entirely (I havent read the whole article mind you.)
    Do or do not, there is no try. - Master Jedi Yoda
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  5. #5
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by RTShatto
    GP and Snoop, under that very same logic (fetus not being fully developed until after birth), one can say that a human is not really a human untill after it reaches full adulthood.
    Yeah, but that's just stupid. Wouldn't you agree?

    I dont believe either to be entirely accurate, somewhat maybe but not entirely (I havent read the whole article mind you.)
    Well, it's not that long. Get back to us when you do.

  6. #6
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    There was a similar situation that faced a Maltese couple who came over to the UK to get things medically, ethically and legally thrashed out. In effect if no operation had taken place, their conjoined 'twins' would have died after a short problematic life. They shared the same heart, but in reality the heart belonged to one of them and was being tapped into by the 'other' who did not have one. The 'parasitical' baby was causing such a strain on all systems that it was in effect killing it's host.

    The thought of an operation in which the only outcome for one was death, while the chance of survival of the other was about 50-50 at best, caused a bit of an uproar in the Catholic Church, of which the family were members, Malta, and in all areas of UK society. In the end it went to the UK High Courts and it was decided that the child with the heart had an overriding right to the chance of, as normal a life, as medicine and society was capable of offering. The operation went ahead and the 'stronger' child survived. She is now growing up in a protective and loving community back in Malta. The 'child' who did not survive was given all the funeral rites and has not been forgotten. If 'we' had let nature take it's course without intervention, both would be dead by now.


    I do feel that the right decision was made.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
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  7. #7
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    I don't understand the problem here. The second head would have no chance of survival. It would not grow a body. So, the only thing that could be done was done. This would be similiar to a tubal pregnancy. There is no chance of the new life surviving in the fallopian tube so must be removed.

  8. #8
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    I don't understand the problem here. The second head would have no chance of survival. It would not grow a body. So, the only thing that could be done was done. This would be similiar to a tubal pregnancy. There is no chance of the new life surviving in the fallopian tube so must be removed.
    I'm just going to tuck this little gem away for later.


    Oh, and the pic looks photoshopped.

  9. #9
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Oh, and the pic looks photoshopped.
    I can't speak to the authenticity of the photo, but the story was pretty widely covered so at worse it's a well publicized lie.

    http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/02/19...onjoined.reut/

    http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/s...storyId=993154

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4285235.stm

    And you'll like this link, Zhav:

    http://www.warrenellis.com/index.php?p=358

  10. #10
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    I don't understand the problem here. The second head would have no chance of survival.
    So it is your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it is incapable of independent life?

    It would not grow a body.
    Is it also your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it will never fully develop?

    So, the only thing that could be done was done. This would be similiar to a tubal pregnancy. There is no chance of the new life surviving in the fallopian tube so must be removed.
    Ah, but how long must one live to be said to "have lived"? Are you saying that a long life for one takes priority over a not-so-long life for two?

  11. #11
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    I'm just going to tuck this little gem away for later.
    Don't let it collect too much dust. Give me what ya got.

  12. #12
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Okay. You BLATANTLY contradicted yourself in another thread.

    Here.

  13. #13
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Okay. You BLATANTLY contradicted yourself in another thread.

    No, you are making assumptions that are wrong.

  14. #14
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godlesspagan
    So it is your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it is incapable of independent life?

    The head is a part of a human life. It will never developed into a person. A fetus will develop into a person.



    Is it also your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it will never fully develop?

    If the life when nurtured will grow into an adult human being than it is wrong to terminate it. The head if nurtured will always be just a head.



    Ah, but how long must one live to be said to "have lived"? Are you saying that a long life for one takes priority over a not-so-long life for two?
    All life is equal. As for the tubal pregnancy, there is absolutely no chance of the baby surviving so it is necessary to save the mother. If there was a chance of saving the baby then an attempt must be made to save both.

  15. #15
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godlesspagan
    So it is your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it is incapable of independent life?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    The head is a part of a human life. It will never developed into a person. A fetus will develop into a person.
    Ah. So it is your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it is incapable of independent life. Thanks for clearing that up.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Godlesspagan
    Is it also your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it will never fully develop?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    If the life when nurtured will grow into an adult human being than it is wrong to terminate it. The head if nurtured will always be just a head.
    And it is also your position that you approve of terminating human life so long as it will never fully develop. Gotcha.

    I fail to see how you can honestly proclaim this to be your stance, or how you can say it with any degree of conviction. Observe:

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Getting back on topic: I have a catholic friend who's sister got married, got pregnant only to find out that her fetus' brain did not develop. The fetus only had the most rudimentary brain functions (as in enough to tell its heart to beat and not much more). The fetus would never develop into a person as we understand people, but could have been born and perhaps survive for a few weeks. Ultimately they chose to abort the fetus because it was the more humane thing to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    I don't believe your explaination of genetics. But to stay on topic, the baby you speak of was already a person, the abortion was wrong.
    How is the case Zhav was referring to remarkably different than the one I've proposed? If the baby had been born, it would:

    A. NEVER be incapable of independent life

    B. NEVER fully develop

    Now you've claimed that Zhav has misrepresented your view and I'm willing to entertain this so long as you can make an objective clarification. Until then, I remain highly skeptical. You seem to apply your own brand of morality however it best suits your own opinions, no matter how inconsistent they may be.

    To clarify, I understand that pointing out where someone has said something contradictory in thread "A" has little bearing on what they say in thread "B". To make such a comparison as an answer in a debate is a fallacy. I recognize this.

    But, to be sure, this is the main reason I created this thread. I had no intention of arguing for or against the surgery since, as I pointed out in the opener, I agree completely with the decisions and actions the doctors and parents took. This is also consistent with my Pro-Choice stance. It has been the case that Pro-lifers inevitably contradict themselves when defending their position with this specific case. That is the point of this thread; to show their self-serving and inconsistent logic.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Godlesspagan
    Ah, but how long must one live to be said to "have lived"? Are you saying that a long life for one takes priority over a not-so-long life for two?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    All life is equal. As for the tubal pregnancy, there is absolutely no chance of the baby surviving so it is necessary to save the mother. If there was a chance of saving the baby then an attempt must be made to save both.
    Well, if you read the article you can see that it doesn't say this was a tubal pregnancy. In fact, as you can derive from the picture, it wasn't a pregnancy at all. So your comparison is a poor one at best and your equivocation has little substance. Answer the question, please.

  16. #16
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    I agree with Sam. When a baby is growing in the womb, it is developing and preparing for becoming an individual, independent life. After someone suffers an accident or disease and is left on life support, there is a still a chance that they can recover.

    The second baby had only a head, had 0 chance of becoming a person with its own body, arguably did not have a soul, since it seems it only had a very primitive brain providing for facial movement, and is a totally different scenario than the vast majority of needless abortions and assisted suicides.

    However, most liberals here are going to ignore their own "shades of gray" mantra because it suits their purpose here, and say that because I don't think it was wrong to remove a semi-conscious head from a fully human being, I am contradicting myself.

  17. #17
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    the vast majority of needless abortions and assisted suicides.

    here's where your argument goes astray - you give no evidence of reasons for abortion, just a generalization against it. You neglected to naroow down the meaning of "needless".
    While laughing at others stupidity, you may want to contemplate your own comedic talents. (link)
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  18. #18
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    However, most liberals here are going to ignore their own "shades of gray" mantra because it suits their purpose here, and say that because I don't think it was wrong to remove a semi-conscious head from a fully human being, I am contradicting myself.
    I don't agree that I'm a liberal in the purest sense, but I have to ask:

    How is removing a semi-conscious head from a fully human being radically different than removing an unconsicous entity from a fully human being, so much so that the former is a positive moral choice and the latter is a grave moral offence?

  19. #19
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by KB
    The second baby had only a head, had 0 chance of becoming a person with its own body, arguably did not have a soul, since it seems it only had a very primitive brain providing for facial movement, and is a totally different scenario than the vast majority of needless abortions and assisted suicides.
    This intrigues me. Is mental retardation the sign of a lack of soul, when modern science has quite substantially proven that these defects are genetic? Is a soul a gift for only those endowed with a brain that functions at least at some level? What level? You mention the "primitve" brain functions as a sign of a lack of a soul...how primitive do you have to be? Keep in mind that a baby is born without being self-aware...it's nuerons haven't made all the connections required to perfrom advanced thought yet. A gorilla has roughly the same intellgence level as a 3 year old child, but surely you arn't arguing that a 3 year old child has no soul, or that a gorilla has one. Does a brain-dead person have a soul, or did the soul leave? If you transplanted someone's brain into another's body, would the soul go with it?

  20. #20
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    Re: Murder or Tissue Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam
    No, you are making assumptions that are wrong.
    ASSUMPTIONS!? Please!

    I am simply going by what you've given me to work with.

    According to Sam, it's okay to perform an operation that kills a head without a body, but it's NOT okay to perform an operation that kills a body without a brain. Neither one is capable of becoming a person.

    Contradiction.

 

 
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