I have this idea for a movie script:
A woman has an argument with her daughter, and takes an overdose
of sleeping pills. While she is unconscious her pet dog gnaws her
No, it's not a prequel for a Hannibal Lecter
movie - it really happened to French woman Isabelle Dinoire.
The idiocy of keeping vicious pack animals as pets has been noted before
in this column. Surely every owner of every pet dog who has attacked someone
has insisted that their dog would never - could never - attack someone. Then
after the event they claim 'I have no responsibility - it's only a dog'. The
distress from hearing about the numerous attacks on children are only partially
mitigated by hearing of attacks on the owners.
So it's hard to sympathize with someone who gets their face eaten off by
their pet dog (particularly someone French). Maybe she should have fed the dog
instead of arguing with the daughter. Even better maybe she should have fed it
the sleeping pills.
Nonetheless it happened, and whether it was her own silly fault or not, she
has a right to improve her life in the manner of her choice. And modern
technology offered her a solution: a transplant from someone who didn't need
her face anymore on account of being dead.
On the face of it this seemed like a good idea, except for the do-gooders
who like to stop progress and prevent people from exercising their own free
will: ethic committees. A French surgeon ignored the advice of a government
ethics panel, found a donor, and transplanted the face. His critics hit have
"You cannot have informed consent as an emergency procedure."
Emergency procedure? Her face got eaten off in May. It's now
December. Apparently 'informed consent' can only be made by a government
appointed ethics committee. Mere choices by individuals about their own welfare
The future for Isabelle Dinoire is not clear - transplants are finicky
things, and sometimes don't take. She may yet end up faceless. But at least she
has been given a chance, and hopefully she will recover completely.
But for the rest of us, there is only one moral course of action: feed an
ethicist's face to a pig today. Then try to stop them getting a face
transplant for 'ethical' reasons.