21 year old girl turns youngest to receive face transplant

17 August, 2018, 19:41 | Author: Angelica Greene
  • Katie Stubblefield survived a gunshot to face at age 18. Now she's the youngest person to receive a complete face transplant in U.S. history

But even though she made more than a dozen visits before this, her parents tried to make sure her life was as normal as possible when she was out.

She was taken to hospital and endured two years worth of operations, undergoing several procedures to fix her bone structure, including her nose, nasal passage and her jaw before receiving her new face from donor Adrea Schneider, 31, who died after a drug overdose.

In her senior year, she had her appendix and her gallbladder taken out as she continued to battle with digestive issues. A few months later, she and her boyfriend broke up. In 2008, American woman Connie Culp became the first United States recipient of a face transplant at the same clinic.

The youngest person to ever receive a full-face transplant, the MS native has shared her awesome story for National Geographic's September issue.

During the years between Stubblefield's suicide attempt and her groundbreaking face transplant, National Geographic photographer Maggie Steber followed Stubblefield around for a full two and a half years, capturing her day-to-day life.

The young woman had lost her forehead, nose and sinuses, mouth except for the corners of her lips and much of the bones that make up the jaws and front of her face in the accident. Right: Photo by Martin Schoeller.

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Katie now plans to attend college soon and pursue a career in counseling and motivational speaking.

A suicide-attempt survivor is getting a second chance after receiving a historic face transplant.

While Katie's medical care team hopes that her surgery can advance the field of face transplantation, there are many other hopes for her future. "Her brain was basically exposed, and I mean, we're talking seizures and infections and all kinds of problems". We're so happy to report that the transplant was successful - what a miracle!

Gastman said that in his 27 years of training and practice this was one of the worst face traumas he'd ever seen.

The GoFundMe page aims to raise US$50,000 to help pay for Katie and her family's needs for the coming year.

"I felt so guilty that I had put my family through such pain".

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"I had no clue what a face transplant was", Katie said.

The operation was the Cleveland Clinic's third face transplant and the 40 in the world.

Full and partial face transplants, still considered experimental surgeries, involve replacing all or parts of a person's face with donated tissue from a deceased donor. "Then when you receive a transplant, you're so thankful".

The hospital declined to identify Stubblefield after the surgery a year ago, but released a statement from the transplant recipient. "Further, on the other hand, how much a singular rash decision made by so many young people today could negatively change your whole life". Get all the details on her groundbreaking surgery here. "She can try to save other young lives".

"I'm definitely taking many, many daily steps", Stubblefield said, adding that she's alive now thanks to her parents' love.

Ms Stubblefield now takes medication to reduce the risk of organ rejection, and will do so for the rest of her life.

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For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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