August 20, 2018

Face transplant gives suicide survivor a second chance

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Katie Stubblefield attempted to take her own life but managed to survive and became the youngest person to ever receive a face transplant.

In 2014, when Katie was 18 years old, her parents were fired, her boyfriend cheated on her and she had been suffering from gastrointestinal pain for quite a while, which lead her to shoot herself under the chin with a  rifle at her brother's bathroom.

According to CNN, the surgery was one of the longest transplants ever performed but it allowed Katie to have a second chance at life, for which she is grateful.

Katie was left completely botched after the suicide attempt. When her brother, Robert, found her on the floor, her face was gone and that was the start of a long journey towards recovery.

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HOW THE PROCESS BEGAN

The now 22-year-old was hospitalized in 2014 with intracranial injuries. Initially, she was taken to a hospital in Oxford, Mississippi, but she was later transferred to Memphis, Tennessee.

They stabilized her jaw and cheekbones, fixed a torn brain membrane and even sewed her eyelids shut just so her corneas could recover, but they had to keep working on her face over the next two weeks.

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SPECIALISTS WERE NEEDED

Realizing that her wounds would not close since the skin grafts kept falling, she was transferred to Cleveland Clinic, where a team of doctors was ready to help her. That's when they shared the possibility of a face transplant with Katie's family.

After several bone-repairing operations, she was considered stable enough for the procedure in 2015, all they needed was a donor. While they waited, Katie's eyes were aligned and some infected tissue was removed from her face.

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A NEW HOPE

in 2017, Katie was notified about a donor named Adrea Schneider, a 31-year-old mother who had died from a drug overdose and the process began. In total, it took 11 surgeons and 15 specialists to give Katie her new face.

The surgery lasted for 31 hours but the doctors managed to give Katie a fresh start; a chance to eat and breathe on her own, as well as talk, as part of their plan to provide her with the necessary tools to have a 'functional life'

Plastic surgery is not just about vanity; it has saved many lives and given people around the world an opportunity to feel better about themselves. Bella Harrington, for example, underwent plastic surgery to fix her protruding ears, which caused her to be bullied by her classmates. Now, she lives a much happier life.

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