Share
News

Recipient of Groundbreaking Face Transplant Dies at 57

Share

Connie Culp, the recipient of the first partial face transplant in the U.S., has died at 57, almost a dozen years after the groundbreaking operation.

The Cleveland Clinic, where her surgery was performed in 2008, said Saturday that Culp died Wednesday at the Ohio clinic of complications from an infection unrelated to her transplant.

Dr. Frank Papay, who is the chair of the Cleveland Clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery institute and was part of Culp’s surgical team, called her “an incredibly brave, vibrant woman and an inspiration to many.”

“Her strength was evident in the fact that she had been the longest-living face transplant patient to date,” Papay said in a statement.

“She was a great pioneer and her decision to undergo a sometimes-daunting procedure is an enduring gift for all of humanity.”

Trending:
Lawyer Who Got Nick Sandmann a Settlement from CNN Weighs in on Rittenhouse: His New Target Is the Biggest Fish of Them All

Culp’s husband shot her in the face in 2004 in a failed murder-suicide attempt for which he was imprisoned for seven years.

The blast destroyed her nose, shattered her cheeks and shut off most of her vision. Her features were so gnarled that children ran away from her and called her a monster, The Associated Press previously reported.

Culp underwent 30 operations to try to fix her face. Doctors took parts of her ribs to make cheekbones and fashioned an upper jaw from one of her leg bones. She had countless skin grafts from her thighs.

Still, she was left unable to eat solid food, breathe on her own, or smell.

In December 2008, Dr. Maria Siemionow led a team of doctors in a 22-hour operation to replace 80 percent of Culp’s face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from a donor, Anna Kasper.

It was the fourth face transplant in the world, though the others were not as extensive.

After the operation, her expressions were a bit wooden and her speech was at times difficult to understand, but she could talk, smile, smell and taste again.

“She’s smiling, she’s perfect. When she jokes, she kind of flickers her eyes. Her face is vivid. You can see emotions,” Dr. Siemionow said in 2011.

Also in 2011, a Texas man severely disfigured in a power line accident underwent the nation’s first full face transplant.

Related:
Report: South African Doctor Who First Noticed Omicron Variant Reels in Doomsayers, Reveals Symptoms Are 'Unusual but Mild'

Culp made several television appearances and become an advocate for organ donation.

Two years after her operation, Culp met with the family of Kasper, the donor, who had died of a heart attack.

Kasper’s 23-year-old daughter, Becky Kasper, said she could see part of her mother in Culp, though their bone structures were different.

“I can definitely see the resemblance in the nose,” she said. “I know she’s smiling down on this, that she’s very happy.”


[jwplayer GoVWJtRG]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation

Notice: Due to threatened de-monetization, we have temporarily removed commenting while we build a long-term commenting solution that allows you to voice your opinion freely and allows us to continue to publish the news fearlessly and cover topics that you care about. If you would like to personally partner with The Western Journal to help us continue publishing while under relentless assault by Big Tech, please visit our subscription page here. We encourage you to share this article and discuss with your friends.