21-year-old receives historic face transplant

21-year-old receives historic face transplant

"Her face is gone", he recalled thinking at the time. She could feel where her face was swollen. She was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic with the hopes of an eventual face transplant.

Prior to this life-changing surgery, Ms. Stubblefield's story was told in a National Geographic documentary and made it as their magazine's September cover story, titled Story of a Face.

Stubblefield family photo-Katie Stubblefield, 17, 8 months before attempting suicide. However, it would be another two and a half years before Stubblefield finally underwent the surgery.

Ms Katie Stubblefield was just 18 when she attempted suicide by putting a hunting rifle below her chin and shooting herself.

It was after a wait for nearly a year of being on the transplant list, that Katie found her match. They took Katie to eat at restaurants despite the looks and comments she'd receive, spent time with her outside and celebrated her birthday. "When my parents helped explain everything to me, I was very excited to get a face again and to have function again". It was Adrea's grandmother who agreed to donate her face for transplantation.

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.

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"So many people have helped me; now I want to help other people", she told National Geographic. Her story could push the gun control conversation forward as many activists see this as another example of the gun violence epidemic the country is going through.

The surgical team used CT scans of the jaw of Katie's older sister, Olivia McCay, to 3D-print a model template for the reconstruction.

In March 2016, Katie was placed on the waiting list for a face transplant. The surgery was completed the next day. "I felt awful", Katie said in the interview.

"She's also undergone additional surgeries to improve function in her tongue and jaw", it added. "Then when you receive a transplant, you're so thankful".

Five weeks after the incident, Stubblefield was brought to Cleveland Clinic. She takes immunosuppressive drugs to reduce her risk of transplant rejection, which occurs when a transplant recipient's immune system attacks the transplanted organ or tissue.

"So many people have helped me".

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Currently, face transplants are seen as experimental treatments and are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies.

It was paid for by the US Department of Defence through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Katie, 22, one year and one month after her surgery.

She said she hopes her story will raise awareness to the potential consequences of suicide, helping other young men and women like her to value life and avoid doing what she did to herself.

"My first wish for Katie is to be happy", Gastman said. "That's number one, but beyond that, I'd like her to have some level of normalcy". "With a grateful heart, I say "thank you" to all who have made this possible for me". "With a new nose, lips, palate, eyelids and jaw, she now has the full opportunity to re-integrate into society and have a future just like any other young adult".

He said Katie "had the ultimate second chance".

In the U.S., suicide rates significantly climbed in 44 states from 1999 through 2016, according to a report published in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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"I'm definitely taking many, many daily steps".

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