Feature

Connie Culp’s new face

The recipient of the first U.S. face transplant steps into the limelight

God bless Connie Culp, said Elizabeth Snead in the Los Angeles Times. Culp, 46, is the first American to undergo a face transplant, and she unveiled her new face Tuesday. Culp’s husband shot her in 2004, destroying her nose, upper jaw, upper lip, palate, one eye, and lower eyelids. (See before-and-after photos) After all that, she’s able to laugh, thank her doctors and nurses, and “crack jokes about getting ‘my nose.’” (Watch Culp’s post-face transplant news conference)

Culp’s facial restoration, at the Cleveland Clinic, wasn’t a “perfect success,” said Allahpundit in Hot Air, but it was “miraculously close.” Thanks to the “mind-boggling” 22-hour operation, she can now eat, breathe on her own, smell, and “go out in public again.” And as her facial nerves regenerate, the doctors will be able to “trim some of the jowls.”

Still, the doctors emphasized that Culp’s face transplant “wasn’t done for aesthetic reasons,” said Ron Winslow in The Wall Street Journal. The ethics are unresolved on performing expensive, high-risk operations that aren’t considered lifesaving. And the stakes are high for the thousands of Americans, including Iraq war casualties, who might be eligible for face transplants.

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