Superhuman: Spare Parts

Director: BBC
Year: 2000
Country: UK
Duration: 50 mins
Rating: N/A

Filed under: Bionics and Cyborg Technologies, Documentary

"In this programme Prof. Robert Winston discusses cochlear implant, pioneering work with electronic chips to overcome blindness, a bionic hand and a hand transplant, heart transplant, pig cell implant to the brain to treat Parkinson's disease, and the question of farming animals for organ transplants to humans. Cochlear implant surgery is shown, with discussion of the problems the patient will experience in becoming accustomed to sound. A bionic arm is shown, the patient attaches himself to it and is seen working out the problems of controlling it. The man who received the world's first hand transplant (in France in 1998) discusses the problems he and other people experienced in coming to terms with it. Two years later his body is beginning to reject the transplanted hand. Hand transplant surgery for a second patient (1999) is shown. This man must take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life to prevent rejection. Heart transplant surgery is shown, patients awaiting the chance of a transplant talk about their anxiety and the question of farming pigs to provide organs for human transplants is discussed. Already, cells from pigs have been transplanted to the brain of a patient with Parkinson's disease who has so far experienced an improvement in his condition. Summary by Participant Prof. Robert Winston Available from the Wellcome Trust."

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This Biomedical Ethics Film Library is being presented in partnership with European Medical Students' Association (EMSA)