United States woman who shot herself receives face transplant

United States woman who shot herself receives face transplant

Katie Stubblefield lost the majority of her face after suffering severe gunshot wounds in an attempted suicide at the age of 18. It followed a tumultuous year in which, Ms Stubblefield had multiple gastrointestinal surgeries and her mother was sacked from the small Christian school she attended.

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.

Ms Stubblefield told National Geographic that she has no memory of her suicide attempt or the many surgeries to mend her face - her parents were the ones to tell her.

Katie's new face was donated by the family of Adrea Schneider, a 31-year-old mother-of-one who who died as the result of a drug overdose.

"When my parents helped explain everything to me, I was very excited to get a face again and to have function again", she said.

The surgery was performed at the Cleveland Clinic by 11 surgeons in OH in May.

"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. "Her brain was basically exposed, and I mean, we're talking seizures and infections and all kinds of problems".

An in-depth look at the journey leading up to Katie's face transplant, as well as her long road to recovery, is featured in National Geographic's September issue and in a new documentary.


Stubblefield is reportedly hoping her successful procedure will raise awareness about the lasting harm of suicide and promotes suicide prevention efforts.

"I'm definitely taking many, many daily steps", Katie told CNN in an interview published on Wednesday. "Life is precious, and life is handsome".

After the suicide attempt, Katie lost most of her vision, had a compromised ability to speak and was unable to take care of herself, the page said.

In 2017, it was decided that Stubblefield would undergo a face transplant. A grant from the US Department of Defense, through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, covered Katie's transplant, according to National Geographic. "Then, she can do all that and become a spokeswoman for so many aspects - for how to be strong in the face of adversity and not to make a singular decision dictate who you are". Part of this involved moving her eyes more into alignment by breaking bones and using a distraction device in preparation for her transplant.

He said Katie "had the ultimate second chance".

During the surgery, Stubblefield received a new nose, lips, palate, eyelids, and jaw, as well as a new facial cover.

In the USA, 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.

"They're like eagles who are protecting a young bird".

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