First U.S. Face Transplant Patient Appears Before Cameras - ABC News
First U.S. Face Transplant Patient Appears Before Cameras
Connie Culp, 46, Said She Is Grateful for the Ways the Surgery Changed Her Life.
The United States' first-ever face transplant patient today publicly thanked the doctors who performed her surgery after a devastating 2004 shooting incident left her disfigured and unable to eat or breathe on her own.
Connie Culp, 46, of Ohio, the country's first-ever face transplant patient, underwent 23 hours of surgery five months ago. She appeared before cameras Tuesday during press conference at the Cleveland Clinic, where surgeons performed the procedure.
(Courtesy Cleveland Clinic)"Well, I guess I'm the one you came to see today," 46-year-old Connie Culp of Ohio said at a press conference at the Cleveland Clinic, where a team of surgeons performed the surgery five months ago. "While I know you all want to focus on me, I think it's more important you focus on the donor family that made it so I could have this Christmas present, I guess I should say."
The 23-hour surgery, which took place over two days in December 2008, garnered widespread media attention shortly after it was completed. The operation was the world's fourth foray into face transplantation surgery. Culp's identity was not released at the time of the surgery, but today she introduced herself to reporters by her first name.
Currently, doctors are waiting to see how much function Culp will regain as the nerves in the graft continue to regenerate.