Liz Kowalczyk writes in the Boston Globe today about a decision by Brigham and Women's Hospital to do face transplants. These are rare cases, indeed, and the Brigham has introduced very thoughtful criteria as to which patients would be eligible.
While there will be critics who will state that this kind of procedure is expensive and unnecessary, there is a humanitarian aspect to this that is compelling. In addition, I am guessing that much will be learned about the science of organ rejection as a result.
This may come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog, but I think this kind of development is fully consistent with the role of academic medical centers. We are expected to push the boundaries of medical science for humanitarian purposes. Congratulations to our neighbors for having the fortitude to take on a procedure that was bound to raise lots of moral, ethical, and financial questions.