21 year old Katie Stubblefield became the youngest person in the US to receive a face transplant.
This is due to her botched suicide attempt from 3 years before,March 25 2014.
Katie neither remembers the day she tried to take her life in the bathroom of her brother’s home,nor much from the months after.
Transferred to the local hospital, then to Cleveland,Ohio,they were desperate to save her life.
Later,by start of 2016,Stubblefield was declared stable.
On May 4, 2017 she made history, undergoing 31 hours of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic;
Receiving a face transplant that would restore her face structure, and allow her to chew, swallow and breathe independently for the first time in years.
In a National Geographic documentary ‘The Story of a Face‘ that reveals her struggle,she said;
‘I get a second chance at life now.’
Furthermore,in the world,Stubblefield is the 40th person to receive a face transplant;
The 3rd at Cleveland Clinic-the pioneer of facial reconstruction in the US.
Nonetheless,this was different than others,in that,she’s the youngest ever and it was the longest face transplant ‘ever’ performed.
Katie Stubblefield’s relatives told National Geographic,she was a fun girl with a great sense of humour and wit.
Also,she was close with her siblings.Older brother and sister;Robert and Olivia.
The day of the botched suicide,earlier in the day she saw texts on her boyfriend’s phone from another girl, and when confronted, he ended their relationship.
She went to her brother’s home distressed,headed to the bathroom;
And shot herself under the chin using his hunting rifle, a .308-caliber.
Robert told National Geographic he rushed upstairs, found Katie on the floor, and ‘her face was gone’.
Surgeons raced to patch up her external and internal wounds and eventually mentioned face transplant to Katie’s family.
The following two years,Stubblefield was being ferried in and out of hospital for a whirlwind of surgeries.
Finally start of May 2017 a donor emerged.
May 4th she was in for the operation-involving 11 surgeons and virtual reality techniques,according to Daily Mail.
For the operation, the surgeons had to replace;
Her scalp, nose, upper cheeks, upper jaw, half of her lower jaw, forehead, eyelids, eye sockets, muscles, skin and most of her facial nerves.
Discharged on August 1, 2017,she is now on a cocktail of immunosuppressant drugs as she continues therapy to re-learn how to walk, move, speak, and read Braille.
Katie hopes to go back to school online, heading towards qualifying as a counselor.
Ultimately,she would like to work with other suicide survivors.