Wow: Recipient of world’s first total face transplant speaks

posted at 6:39 pm on May 5, 2009 by Allahpundit

Not a perfect success, but miraculously close. The goal here wasn’t to make her look fully normal, which would be almost impossible, but to get close enough so that she could go out in public again. Have a look at what she looked like before the operation.

She endured 30 operations to try to fix her face. Doctors took parts of her ribs to make cheekbones and fashioned an upper jaw from one of her leg bones. She had countless skin grafts from her thighs. Still, she was left unable to eat solid food, breathe on her own, or smell.

Then, on Dec. 10, in a 22-hour operation, Dr. Maria Siemionow led a team of doctors who replaced 80 percent of Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from another woman who had just died. It was the fourth face transplant in the world, though the others were not as extensive.

“Here I am, five years later. He did what he said — I got me my nose,” Culp said of Djohan, laughing.

They’ll trim some of the jowls you see as her facial nerves regenerate to control the new muscles — which, incidentally, will also make her new face look more like her old one. Mind-boggling.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Shout out to HawkDriver

We love you and miss you.

Stay safe.

Knucklehead on May 5, 2009 at 6:41 PM

pretty amazing what they accomplished, especially seeing how much was involved

offroadaz on May 5, 2009 at 6:41 PM

What a tragic story. I’m glad modern medicine can help in such cases.

eforhan on May 5, 2009 at 6:44 PM

Hey Allah…..Any word or news on how the lady who got attacked by the chimp is doing? She’s supposedly in the same clinic where this surgery was performed.

Knucklehead on May 5, 2009 at 6:46 PM

That is amazing. Awesome achievement.

Mommypundit on May 5, 2009 at 6:51 PM

That’s incredible. I’m glad this worked out for her.

BadgerHawk on May 5, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Gotta give her credit for keeping her spirits up, the dude who shot her in the face should fry.

echosyst on May 5, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Looks like they were able to give this lady a chance at a return to a somewhat normal life.

gregbert on May 5, 2009 at 6:54 PM

She is beautiful and the doctors are AWESOME – I wish I could meet her so I could tell her just how amazing & pretty she is. WOW – and we all bitch & moan everyday about petty stuff.

Ris4victory on May 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Not bad. She kind of looks like Angelia Houston.

SoulGlo on May 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Amazing…

What’s even more amazing tho is that she survived being shot in the face like that. God bless her.

JetBoy on May 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

WOW!!! God Bless her is right!

D2Boston on May 5, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Amazing woman, amazing doctors. I can’t help but wonder what Obama’s socialized medicine will offer someone in her situation. Wouldn’t Daschle just say she should deal with it?

ctmom on May 5, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Knucklehead on May 5, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Who is this HawkDriver everyone keeps greeting???
Yes, & thank God for medical advances to be able to help this dear lady!

jgapinoy on May 5, 2009 at 6:59 PM

I think she is beautiful!! May God bless her and her family and the doctors – we see these miracles but do not give them enough credence. I am humbled by her suffering & admire her spunk and dignity.

Ris4victory on May 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM

I can’t help but wonder what Obama’s socialized medicine will offer someone in her situation.

Their “cure” would be euthanasia.

jgapinoy on May 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Bless her heart. How many here would have your face all over the press? I hope, wish her well, and pray God will continue be with her. She has guts and will be a help to others.
L

letget on May 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Hey Allah…..Any word or news on how the lady who got attacked by the chimp is doing? She’s supposedly in the same clinic where this surgery was performed.

Knucklehead on May 5, 2009 at 6:46 PM

She’ll need more than a face transplant. She has brain damage, is blind, and lost her hands. That’s in addition to losing her nose, eyelids, and lips.

amerpundit on May 5, 2009 at 7:01 PM

Yes. Bless her.

ddrintn on May 5, 2009 at 7:03 PM

God bless this brave woman, and all the medical personnel who have helped her.

rockmom on May 5, 2009 at 7:03 PM

Who is this HawkDriver everyone keeps greeting???

jgapinoy on May 5, 2009 at 6:59 PM

A Hot Air poster who shipped out last week. Since he left, some of us have been giving him a shout every day. I’ve been including his company. Now I’m also including all the patriots serving in harms way, that they know they are not forgotten, but much appreciated.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:04 PM

I’ll never cease to be amazed by the advances of modern medicine.

Scrappy on May 5, 2009 at 7:06 PM

I hope she does well now. No one should have to endure that.

upinak on May 5, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Thank God for great doctors and the work they do, as well as all people in all medical fields.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:07 PM

I’ve been including his company. Now I’m also including all the patriots serving in harms way, that they know they are not forgotten, but much appreciated.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Show me where you’ve got that info posted so I can try and include it. I’ve been trying to get that shout out on the first post, so if he’s just reading, he’ll see it.

Knucklehead on May 5, 2009 at 7:13 PM

That’s amazing. I misunderstood Allah statement about the last link, I thought it was going to show a picture her before she was injured. Considering the damage done her prospects seem bright.

Cindy Munford on May 5, 2009 at 7:14 PM

She looks fantastic.

CarolynM on May 5, 2009 at 7:17 PM

Nice job… gives many others hope too.

lexhamfox on May 5, 2009 at 7:24 PM

Wow…….

Seven Percent Solution on May 5, 2009 at 7:26 PM

Knucklehead on May 5, 2009 at 7:13 PM

Don’t know his company or location. Don’t know his name or politics or much about him. He’s in harms way in order to protect us. That’s all that matters.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:31 PM

Take a good long look at this advancement in medical science.

You won’t see anything like this under ObamaCare………unless it is from a private research hospital.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on May 5, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Give me a room, ice water, salt, pliers and the Jerk who did this to this poor woman.

blatantblue on May 5, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Just think, if Obama gets his way, operations like this will be deemed too expensive and wasteful for the overall good. We have GOT to stop the march to socialized medicine.

karenhasfreedom on May 5, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Don’t know his company or location. Don’t know his name or politics or much about him. He’s in harms way in order to protect us. That’s all that matters.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:31 PM

Here is a link that he posted a while back:
http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=322187#video

thomasaur on May 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Ok, I’m done crying now. Maybe. What a strong woman, I don’t know that I’d have the courage to endure what she has.

scalleywag on May 5, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Give me a room, ice water, salt, pliers and the Jerk who did this to this poor woman.

blatantblue on May 5, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Just give me a cathater, a bottle of saline solution, a can of cayenne and a livestock syringe.

thomasaur on May 5, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Reminds me of the little Iraqi boy, the one terrorists threw gasoline in his face and lit on fire? Wonder how he’s doing. They did remarkable surgery on him too and it was priceless when he regained his smile.

scalleywag on May 5, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Bless her heart. How many here would have your face all over the press? I hope, wish her well, and pray God will continue be with her. She has guts and will be a help to others.
L

letget on May 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM

What you said.

The ex-husband who shot her in the face (starting this whole trial for her in the first place), was sentenced to seven years in prison. (?!?!?)

newton on May 5, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Not bad. She kind of looks like Angelia Houston.

SoulGlo on May 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

I’m going to Hell for laughing at that.

Ugly on May 5, 2009 at 7:50 PM

thomasaur on May 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Thnaks. If I’ve calculated correctly, that’s 8.5 hours ahead of Eastern Time.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:51 PM

Not bad. She kind of looks like Angelia Houston.

SoulGlo on May 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

You owe me a monitor and a keyboard!!!!!

Andy in Agoura Hills on May 5, 2009 at 7:55 PM

Thnaks.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:51 PM

What gay guys eat in between meals!

Ugly on May 5, 2009 at 7:56 PM

We need the face to face the world.

– Dr. Maria Siemionow

What an incredible blessing this is.

Loxodonta on May 5, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Uh… not to threadjack or anything.

But 7 years in prison? Really?

Everyone should take a good, long look at the realities of voting for liberals. Her life is effectively ruined. He’s going to be a free man in two years.

12thMonkey on May 5, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Wow. Just wow. This woman is not just tough… she’s Chuck Norris tough. I have complete and utter respect for her.

Drunken Angry Clown on May 5, 2009 at 8:19 PM

If you go to the slideshow in the first link, they have a picture of her before she was shot. She was very pretty. I don’t know where someone finds the strength to deal with something like this.

And, as far as her scum of a husband, who did this to her, why did he only get a 7-year sentence? Dumbass jury or federal sentencing guidelines or what?

Also, thanks for the links and info about Hawkdriver. I also want to send my heartfelt appreciation and respect and will pray that he and his entire company kick Taliban ass and return safe & sound.

califcon on May 5, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Very horrible crime. He should suffer the same.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 5, 2009 at 8:25 PM

Wow! My heart goes out to this courageous woman and her family. It’s amazing to see the advances in medicine these days. My dad died of heart disease back in 1980 at the age of 34, today his condition would be at least treatable, I’m living proof of that after surviving 6 heart attacks and a stroke and not yet quite 40 years old. It’s a bit scary to think that under socialized medicine as seen in most countries I’d probably have been dead several times over by now. This woman is a reminder that we have the best medical system in the world bar none!

BadMojo on May 5, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Wow, that’s really a miracle. She can have a normal life again. Just amazing. Things like this are why I don’t worry about the future.

grahampowell on May 5, 2009 at 9:21 PM

She is beautiful and the doctors are AWESOME – I wish I could meet her so I could tell her just how amazing & pretty she is. WOW – and we all bitch & moan everyday about petty stuff.

Yes.

Exactly.

Bob's Kid on May 5, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Man; After seeing this, I promise to never get S-faced again!

Cybergeezer on May 5, 2009 at 9:50 PM

God bless her, hope nothing but success for her.

Hog Wild on May 5, 2009 at 10:24 PM

God Bless her, and God Bless all the people who made it possible, especially the donor and the donor’s family.

SilverStar830 on May 5, 2009 at 10:30 PM

And just when I honestly think it would have been better to live in the 1920′s, something like this shows that not everything has degenerated.

I don’t know what to say, save I am happy for the woman and appreciate the sacrifices of both families.

Turtler on May 5, 2009 at 10:52 PM

tear to my eyes

EricPWJohnson on May 5, 2009 at 11:37 PM

Wow, what a story! I am very happy for her, and yes, she does look a little bit like Angelica Houston from the picture at the link.

I watched part of a show last night where a bald eagle was given a new prosthetic upper beak, and I thought that was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen until I read this today.

TeeDee on May 5, 2009 at 11:54 PM

Wow! I’m ashamed to admit that I thought this was one of Allah’s joke headlines with an Onion story attached. What an incredible story!

TX Mom on May 6, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Awesome

Bladerunner1701 on May 6, 2009 at 1:06 AM

I think putting the moving story aside, you have to look at this with a cool head. Right now, her face is very disturbing to look at. The doctor’s should have waited until they trimmed her jowels and made other improvements before putting her out in the spotlight.

The problem is this: while she may be glad at what has been achieved, she should not face the public (who can be cruel) until she has completed the surgery, or near-completed it. You can bet there are going to be a few comedians making jokes about her. Right now, she does not look too great. I’m sure when the surgery is fully completed she will be transformed, but its still a work in progress.

I wonder if the doctors were so eager to show off their latest achievement that they didn’t really think through all the possible consquences?

dcpolwarth on May 6, 2009 at 3:00 AM

Absolute gut wrenching preamble, but a miraculous turnaround.

God bless her, and God bless all the wonderful people who have worked tirelessly to help her.

Every now and then, you see a story that reminds you to keep some faith in humanity.

She acknowledged that she had been shot but would not go into details about the crime for which her husband was sentenced to 7 years in prison in 2005.

Not nearly enough.

That bastard should never get to live a day of his life again.

He made hers a living hell in almost robbing her of it.

Hawkins1701 on May 6, 2009 at 3:23 AM

“When somebody has a disfigurement and don’t look as pretty as you do, don’t judge them, because you never know what happened to them,” she said. “Don’t judge people who don’t look the same as you do. Because you never know. One day it might be all taken away.”

Put that on a plaque.

Hawkins1701 on May 6, 2009 at 3:31 AM

This is such a moving story. First of all I salute this woman’s courage for not giving up and for letting the world see her. I also salute the doctors and experts who have helped her improve her appearance. She is an inspiration to everyone who suffers from issues of self esteem related to their looks, because compared to her struggle, our preoccupations with wrinkle free skin and high cheek bones suddenly become insignificant. Sometimes I look in the mirror and complain about what I see, but today I am thankful. I wish her the best and I hope she gets a lot of love from everyone around her, because she deserves it. And we can honor her by abiding by her wish to withhold judgement from those who don’t look as “pretty” as we do. God bless.

pleaseandthankyou on May 6, 2009 at 4:37 AM

Let’s not forget to have some good thoughts for the donor. Another family suffered a loss and the selfless actions of the donor is the first step in this process.

gregbert on May 6, 2009 at 10:23 AM

God bless her.

JetBoy on May 5, 2009 at 6:55 PM

I think he did, Jet. Her attitude is so beyond what I imagine mine would be. She was beautiful before this, and after she was correcting a child who thought she was a monster.

But that just reminds of the saying, that God never gives you more than you can handle, or that he’ll give you the strength if you can’t.

He’s going to be a free man in two years.

12thMonkey on May 5, 2009 at 8:18 PM

And that makes no sense at all to me. Will she feel safe? Will they be able to protect her from him if he decides to do it again?

This woman went through so much and may have to face him again. That’s unfathomable for a civilized society.

Esthier on May 6, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Esthier – Perhaps her feelings have evolved over time, but at the time of her husband’s conviction she was convinced they would be reunited – she still loved him and was convinced he loved her too, and didn’t really MEAN to shoot her in the farging face.

She made remarks like “after this, he had better put me on a pedestal”.

I tend to think she has had second thoughts over time. I certainly hope so.

SarahW on May 6, 2009 at 12:38 PM

The picture caught my eye. I said to myself “So that’s what Nazi Pelosi looks like without Botox….Barrrumpa psshhh…..

adamsmith on May 6, 2009 at 1:35 PM

She’s an inspiration.

Happy Nurses Week!

keebs on May 6, 2009 at 4:45 PM