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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:22 PM
Original message
Brigham does first full face transplant in US
Source: Boston Globe

Brigham and Women's Hospital surgeons last week performed the first full face transplant in the United States, attaching a donor's face to a young Texas man who suffered severe burns in a horrific electrical accident in 2008, the hospital said this morning.

Dallas Wiens, 25, lost all of his features -- except for a small portion of his chin -- when a cherry-picker he was working on maneuvered into a live wire.

In a statement released this morning, the Brigham said that a team of more than 30 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and residents worked for more than 15 hours to replace Wiens' facial area, "including the nose, lips, facial skin, muscles of facial animation and the nerves that power them and provide sensation." The transplant extended from the mid-scalp to his neck.

Read more: http://www.boston.com/news/health/blog/2011/03/brigham_...
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mahatmakanejeeves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Full face transplanted in Boston
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 01:36 PM by mahatmakanejeeves
Source: CBC and Associated Press

A Texas construction worker badly disfigured in a power line accident two years ago has received the first U.S. full face transplant at a Boston hospital.

More than 30 doctors, nurses and other staff at Brigham and Women's Hospital led by plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac performed the 15-hour operation last week on 25-year-old Dallas Wiens of Fort Worth, Texas. He was listed in good condition at the hospital on Monday.
....

The new federal health care law helped make the operation possible. Wiens had no insurance when he was injured; Medicaid covered about two dozen surgeries until his disability payments put him over income limit.

Because he's under 26, the new law allowed him to qualify for coverage under his father's plan, which will cover the expensive drugs he will need lifelong to prevent rejection of his new face.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/03/21/face-tra...



Warning: graphic.

AFP adds this:

Electrocuted US man gets new face

The $300,000 cost of the operation was met by the US Department of Defense as part of research into aiding severely wounded service personnel.


I met someone who came into contact with a power line energized at about 19,200 volts, which I believe is typical for Dominion Power. (Look at the highest conductor on a power pole, the one that supplies the primary voltage for a pole-mounted transformer.) He had undergone 23 operations, and he would never be back to the way he was before he contacted the power line. This is really a devastating injury.

By the way, AFP is wrong in saying that he was electrocuted. Electrocution is fatal. The man sustained an electric shock.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Pics of the patient and the face
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. I believe his father's plan would cover him up until he turns 26, not for the rest of his life.
This sentence could be interpreted to mean his drugs would be covered for the rest of his life:

Because he's under 26, the new law allowed him to qualify for coverage under his father's plan, which will cover the expensive drugs he will need lifelong to prevent rejection of his new face.

Unless there's something else to it, when he turns 26 he'll lose coverage under his father's health insurance plan.
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REACTIVATED IN CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. You're right - but then he can have 3 years of COBRA
if he can afford it.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. That's a good point, I forgot about COBRA.
After that he'll have a problem getting his meds. I wish we had universal health care for everybody.
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REACTIVATED IN CT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Me, too. n/t
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. if it was a work injury, he will be compensated. in fact
his dad's insurance company will probably turn around and hit the worker's comp fund.
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fromVT Donating Member (221 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. according to CBC article
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/03/21/face-tra...

"When he turns 26 in May, he'll be eligible to receive Medicare, which covers the disabled."
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Sonicwall Donating Member (191 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Reread the article. He gets Medicare on his birthday
so he is covered.
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virgogal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Astonishing----I wish him well. Great hospital,two of my
grandchildren were born there.
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. 
Mr Wiens told The Dallas Morning News I'm happier now than I think.

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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:09 PM
Response to Original message
6. About 15 years ago I took care of a child who lost his face to a dog
the surgical team was unsure of how to proceed. They talked about (and had a cadaver face) ready to attempt a transplant. Because of obvious ethical issues, including the fact that it had never been done, they used skin and muscle from the abdomen to create a "face" by grafts.
At the time, the child was 2 years old. I know how cruel kids are and I know that at that time, he didn't look normal. No matter what the intent was--I feared when he got older that he would be the guy down the street that the kids told urban legends about--not remembering that he was used as a chew toy by a pitt bull long enough that there was NOTHING left on his face. No fat, no muscle, no lips, no eyelids--absolutely nothing and the absolute horror that poor baby went through.
I am quite sure that his case (it was national news at the time)contributed to the discussion of the necessity of coming up with a procedure for this transplant. I also hope that the young patient that I took care of has an opportunity to utilize this procedure so that perhaps he can become a normal young man.

I am heartened that the man that this procedure was done on was willing to be the first patient to have this done. What a brave thing for him to do knowing the risks and also the burden of having another person's face. I wish him well in his life and I hope it all works out for him.
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LisaL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. A face transplant from another person would lead to a lifetime
necessity for anti-rejections meds. In a child that young, I am not sure the face transplant would be attempted even now, because of the anti-rejection meds that child would have to take for the rest of his/her life.
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. He said the main reason he was having it done was to be able to feel his 3 year old daughter's kiss.
Considering the pain he's going to go through, not to mention the lifetime commitment this surgery means for him. I can imagine there's some truth in his statement.

Perhaps some day they'll find a way to restore his eyes too. Just like he's hoping.
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