Katie Stubblefield has made history by becoming the youngest person in the U.S. to receive a face transplant —three years after shooting herself in a botched suicide attempt.
She underwent 31 hours of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to receive a face transplant that will restore her face structure, and allow her to chew, swallow and breathe independently for the first time in years. She is the 40th person in the world to receive a face transplant, and the third at the Cleveland Clinic. ‘I get a second chance at life now,’ Katie, now 22, said in a National Geographic documentary, released on August 14, 2018 to coincide with the cover story ‘The Story of a Face’, revealing her struggle. 💜
National Geographic wrote on it’s Instagram page:
“Robb and Alesia Stubblefield hold their 21-year-old daughter Katie in January 2018, eight months and 23 days after Katie received a face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Katie shot her face off in a suicide attempt in 2014 at age 18 due to a number of issues that caused her desperate attempt. After numerous surgeries and long hours of psychotherapy to prepare her for eligibility for a face transplant, Katie and her family awaited a miracle: a donor face. One finally came and in May 2017 Katie received a new face in a 31-hour procedure. Throughout this process, her parents stood by her, learning everything they could about face transplants, medical procedures, medicines and numerous kinds of physical therapy. Their lives changed from being teachers to being ardent advocates for their child, accompanying her to daily visits with doctors and physical and speech therapists. They learned how to give her medications through a tube in leading to her stomach. In their most important role, they kept the spirits of Katie and themselves up through their faith in God and faith in Katie’s team of surgeons. They became warriors for their daughter in roles that continue even until today.”
Photo by @maggiesteber.