Thursday, December 18, 2008

Face Transplant

If you are squeamish...don't read this.

My day job is at a hospital...Cleveland Clinic is ranked the 4th best hospital in the nation. This week surgeons performed the first face transplant in the US. It took 22 hours, 8 surgeons, and who knows how many nurses and assistants. They transplanted 80% of the patient's face and included bone, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Apparently the patient had an injury that left her without a nose and a portion of her palate. Basically her face was caved in on itself and she couldn't eat or breath on her own. There is an short animation on the CCF website that shows the transfer of the donor's face to the patient. If this is successful, the patient should be able to eat, breath, and speak on her own. I have been amazed by this. The patient's sister talked about this being a time of tears. Tears for the donor's family because this is a time of great loss for them. They had to give special permission for the face to be donated. It isn't part of the normal organ donation. In doing this they understood that they would have to have a closed casket at the funeral. Tears from the patient's family because the organ donor has given their loved one a new lease on life. She has endured people making fun of her and humiliating her and she may now have a chance to go out into the world again. Amazing and so very touching. I wish them all the best.


Ag alchemy said...

How amazing to be working at that hospital while that historic event was happening! I've been watching it on the news. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

Elaine said...

Oh wow, I just saw this on the news! Small world!