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Connie Culp,the first near total face implant recipient in the US dies at 57

Connie Culp, the first person in the US to receive a near-total face transplant died from an infection unrelated to her transplant,according to Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Andrea Pacetti.

 

Culp lost the mid-portion of her face after being shot by her then husband in 2004,before turning the gun on himself.He survived and served 7 years in jail. She was left partially blind, unable to smell and speak, and she had to rely on a surgical opening in her neck to breathe.
In December 2008, she underwent a 22-hour transplant surgery led by Dr. Maria Siemionow, in which the face of a deceased donor–Anna Kasper 44, who died of a heart attack two weeks before Christmas– was shaped and fitted to Culp.
Anna Kasper

While the transplant could never return Culp’s original looks, it helped her regain senses that had been lost. She could smell again,and eat anything, including a good steak, after years of just eating soft foods.

After the transplant, Culp dedicated years of her life to sharing her story and speaking out about domestic violence, as well as educating and encouraging others who were to undergo transplant surgeries.

A year before her ex-husband, Thomas, was released from prison in 2011, Culp told journalist Diane Sawyer that while she would always love him because they have two children together,they could not get back together,a decision she came to after her daughter,Alicia, helped her realized about the kind of example she was setting if she ever went back to the man that shot her.

More than two years after undergoing a landmark, near-total face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic, Connie Culp said she was happy with the transformation.

Connie Culp before the accident
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