She Shot Off Her Face. Now She Has a New One

She Shot Off Her Face. Now She Has a New One

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.

A young woman has been given a second chance at life after undergoing a face transplant.

"Her face is gone", he recalled thinking at the time. A year after the surgery, however, she's ready to go back out into the world. The nerves connecting her brain to the newly introduced facial muscles are still growing, so she struggles to move many features. When she was 18, Stubblefield tried to commit suicide by shooting herself with a rifle in her MS home.

'Life is precious and life is lovely, ' she said.

Yet overall, the young woman's story is one of rousing success in the field of cutting-edge medicine and of the fantastic human connections formed between physicians and patients.

National Geographic followed Stubblefield during her three-year journey to receive the rare 31-hour transplant, and she is featured on their September cover, released Tuesday, in a feature titled "The Story of a Face".

Photographer Maggie Steber, who spent two-and-a-half years capturing Katie and her family on camera, said: 'They are warriors.

Like all other face transplant recipients, Stubblefield will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.

The issue is named The Story Of A Face and relives Katie's nerve-racking fate of getting a face transplant.

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Although her eyes remained, they were askew and badly damaged, and for the longest time Katie couldn't see.

Before Katie's face transplantation, surgeons at Cleveland Clinic used 3D printing to help reconstruct about 90% of her lower jaw, said Dr. Brian Gastman, a plastic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic who led Katie's surgery and oversaw her care.

"I felt so guilty that I had put my family through such pain".

She has said that she doesn't remember much of that year - including being hospitalized in Oxford, Mississippi; being flown to another hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; and then being transferred to Cleveland Clinic in OH, where she would undergo her face transplantation three years later.

He noted that when he first saw Katie's injury, he anxious that she might not live.

It was the first total face transplant for the hospital, which became the first in the U.S.to perform a face transplant of any kind 2008.

She was transferred from a local hospital to the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, as doctors desperately tried to save her. "Further, on the other hand, how much a singular rash decision made by so many young people today could negatively change your whole life".

One year later, Stubblefield is hoping to attend college and is considering a career in counseling. "So many people have helped me; now I want to help other people", she told the magazine.

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