Thursday, 13 December, 2018

United States woman who shot herself receives face transplant

Katie Stubblefield Woman, 21, Gets Full Face Transplant After Shooting Face Off In Suicide Attempt — Pics
Johnnie Parks | 17 August, 2018, 15:26

According to her father, Robb Stubblefield, she had gone through surgery for chronic gastrointestinal problems, dealt with betrayal in a personal relationship, and suffered because her mother was unjustly fired from her teaching job. "I felt awful", she adds. She could feel the portions that were missing. The U.S. Department of Defense is partially funding her care so doctors can apply lessons from her transplant to help wounded soldiers.

The idea of putting the young woman through this surgery came after her parents talked to a surgeon in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was flown for treatment after the suicide attempt.

National Geographic chronicled the journey of that patient, Katie Stubblefield, in its September issue.

At left, Katie Stubblefield at 17, eight months before attempting suicide. In 2014, during her senior year of high school, her world upended. In the time since receiving her full-face transplant - joining the ranks of fewer than 25 such recipients worldwide - at the Cleveland Clinic, Katie has undergone three major revision surgeries and has been hard at work with physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

"So many people have helped me; now I want to help other people", she said.

When Katie was later told about the possible procedure, she said, she was equally stunned.

"I am able to touch my face now, and it feels fantastic", said Ms Stubblefield, who still has some difficulty speaking clearly. "I get a second chance at life now", Stubblefield said before her surgery began. Schneider was a registered organ donor, but it was her mother, Sandra, who reportedly approved of the transplant.

The operation lasted 31-hours but the net result was a 100 percent replacement of Stubblefield's face.

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Stubblefield survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 18.

The 31-hour-surgery gave Katie Stubblefield a new face after a year wait for a donor, where they availed organ of 31-year-old slain Andrea Schneider, after the family of the donor made a decision to help.

She underwent the transplant in Cleveland, Ohio, which involved using a 3D printed jaw.

It was the first total face transplant for the hospital, which became the first in the U.S.to perform a face transplant of any kind 2008.

Stubblefield was the youngest person to have an entire face transplant surgery in America, making her story a special one.

"We would do that for anybody, but many of us are parents ourselves and we saw what her own parents were going through". "We thought it was just such a moving and inspiring story that is about everything from human journey to breakthrough medicine and science".

Plastic surgeon Dr Brian Gastman, the first clinic doctor to see Katie and the man who would go on to lead her transplant procedure, recalled to NatGeo that he was initially only concerned with stabilizing Katie, and he anxious that even if that went to plan, there wouldn't be enough tissue available for corrective surgeries due to her small size. "Forget the face transplant; we're talking about just being alive".

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