Connie Culp, America’s first partial face transplant patient, dies at 57


Connie Culp, America’s first partial face transplant patient, has died at age 57, according to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where she had a delicate operation nearly 12 years ago.

The health center did not list any cause of death in its Friday tweet, citing one of its doctors, Frank Papay, as saying that she was a “great pioneer”.

“Her decision to undergo the sometimes intimidating procedure is a lasting gift for all mankind,” added Papay, head of the clinic’s institute of dermatology and plastic surgery.

Culp was seriously injured in 2004 when her husband shot her and then turned on him.

The gunshot shattered Culp’s nose and cheeks, the roof of his mouth, and his right eye.

His injuries were much less extensive than his, and he was then jailed for seven years for the attack.

Culp underwent 30 surgeries before undergoing a transplant in 2008 at the Cleveland Clinic – an extremely complex procedure that took 22 hours over two days.

The mother-of-two then spoke out against domestic violence and encouraged others who had had face transplants, including Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who had been mutilated by a pet chimpanzee.

A transplant can help recipients – often victims of accidents, violence, or rare genetic disorders – resume basic tasks such as breathing, eating, and speaking, and it restores important non-verbal communication through smiles and frowns. eyebrows.

But the operation, performed only a few dozen times around the world, can mean a lifelong struggle to keep the body from rejecting the implanted organ.

Immunosuppressive drugs, which help stop such rejection, can make a person vulnerable to infections and cancer.

Dallas Wiens, a Texas man whose face was severely burned by a high-voltage wire while working on the roof of a church, underwent America’s first facial implant in 2011. Although permanently blinded, he is now able to talk on the phone. and regained his sense of smell.

The recipient of the world’s first partial face transplant, Isabelle Dinoire, from France, died of cancer in April 2016, 11 years after her groundbreaking operation.

Doctors said her body rejected the transplant.


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