Woman's incredible journey for a new face

17 August, 2018, 19:38 | Author: Homer Porter
  • Woman, 21, Gets Full Face Transplant After Shooting Face Off In Suicide Attempt — Pics

It was over a course of multiple surgeries that Katie's face was finally stabalised and patched up by her doctors using her thigh muscles.

Katie Stubblefield lost the majority of her face after suffering severe gunshot wounds in an attempted suicide at the age of 18.

She lost her nose and parts of her mouth and forehead, but she survived. "That's number one, but beyond that, I'd like her to have some level of normalcy".

Dr Brian Gastman at Cleveland Clinic who attended to her after she was transferred there some time after the incident told National Geographic that Ms Stubblefield's injury was one of the worst face traumas he had ever seen.

At 21, Katie became the youngest person in the United States to have a face transplant.

Stubblefield's ordeal is also the cover story of National Geographic's September issue with the feature "Story of a Face".

"I'm definitely taking many, many daily steps", Stubblefield said, adding that she's alive now thanks to her parents' love. "Then when you receive a transplant, you're so thankful".

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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 surgery, which took 31 hours, was a success.

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.

However, Katie now remains unable to see and is learning Braille, according to the clinic. "I am able to touch my face now, and it feels awesome", Katie said in the video. 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.

Though she is literally using Schneider's face, Stubblefield will reportedly not look like her, since the face will mold to her bone structure as it heals.

"In addition to finding a place to rent and cover basic essentials, their family will need additional funds to continue Katie's much needed extra therapies and training, not covered by insurance or the Department of Defense", read the page. She hopes to go to college and eventually find a career in counselling and motivational speaking. Like all other face transplant recipients, Stubblefield will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.

"If by sharing her story, Katie could empower one person, debunk one myth about suicide, or most of all prevent one suicide she will have achieved her goal", said the page. Almost 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016, and more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. Stubblefield is reportedly hoping her successful procedure will raise awareness about the lasting harm of suicide and promotes suicide prevention efforts.

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