Facial Transplant Revealed – We’ve Come A Long Way

Facial Transplant Revealed - We've Come A Long Way
In November 2002, the BBC NEWS World Edition, headlined an article entitled, FACE TRANSPLANTS ‘ON THE HORIZON’. Peter Butler, a leading plastic surgeon called for a debate about whether face transplants should take place. Butler said it was essential for a moral and ethical debate to take place before anyone underwent the operation. Butler told the BBC, “It is not CAN we do it, but SHOULD we do it?” “While people would, in general, accept a face transplant if they required it, they would actually not be willing to donate,” he said.

Yesterday, May 2, 2013, Carmen Tarleton, 44, revealed her new face. Tarleton underwent a full face transplant surgery in February. Her new face looks remarkably normal. There is a slight droop on the left side of her face and her right eye remains closed. The left eye is partially open. The doctors expect there to be more improvement as the newly connected nerves continue to grow.

“The donor and her family have given me a tremendous gift that is making a significant difference in my quality of life at the daily level. They have relieved a significant amount of my pain and discomfort and for that I am forever grateful.” Tarleton said.

Tarleton met the family of donor, Cheryl Righter. Her face and organs were donated to five recipients after she’d suffered a sudden stroke in February, 2013. “Marinda Righter, the daughter of the donor, hugged and kissed Tarleton. “You’re beautiful,” Righter said. “Yesterday after meeting you, Carmen, for the first time in a long time I felt overjoyed. For the first time I got to feel my mother’s skin, to see my mother’s freckles and through you I get to see my mother live on.”

“I have conversations with her and let her know how grateful I am,” Tarleton said of her deceased donor. She thinks about her every day. “I’m thrilled! I’m thrilled with what I’ve got.”

Six years ago, Carmen Tarleton’s estranged husband attacked her with a baseball bat then doused industrial strength lye. She received burns over more than 80% of her body. Tarleton has undergone 55 operations over the past five years and received her face transplant in early February 2013.

In an article published in November 2002, Christine Piff told the BBC that she backs the idea of face transplants, though she had some concerns. “There’s a hesitation from my part, thinking that I would be wearing another face that didn’t belong to me. But when I look at it logically, it is 2002, this is going to happen.”

Thankfully, for 26 recipients of full face transplants worldwide and seven in the United States, Christine was correct!

Written By: Mary Staller

Sources / Supporting Links / Works Cited (If none, please type “none”): A “wonderful gift’: Lye attack victim reveals new face after transplant surgery by Linda Carroll NBCNews.com/Face Transplants on the horizon BBC News World Edition http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2516181.stm/Face transplant recipient’s goal: A kiss by Elizabeth Cohen CNN.com”I would consider a face transplant” BBC News newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2518555.stm

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