Family identifies first US face transplant donorDecember 21st, 2010 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 21 (IANS) The identity of the woman who became America’s first face transplant donor has been revealed by her family.Mother-of-three Anna Kasper, 44, died of a heart attack in December 2008. This weekend the woman who received her face, Connie Culp, 47, had an emotional reunion with Kasper’s husband Ron and her children.
Culp spent about 90 minutes Saturday with Kasper’s family. Kasper’s 23-year-old daughter, Becky Kasper, said that she could see Culp’s resemblance to her mother in her nose.
And the Kasper family agreed that Culp was the perfect recipient for her face, saying she has the same love of life and personality as the loved one they lost, reports the Daily Mail.
The family agreed to donate Kasper’s face in December 2008, after she collapsed of a heart attack. Paramedics revived her but tests showed she was brain dead.
The family immediately agreed to donate all her organs, including heart, kidneys, liver and eyes.
“She’d give her time. She’d give her money. She gave a lot of things to other people,” her husband said.
Then a donation specialist from the Cleveland Clinic called the house to ask for her face. Within minutes, the family agreed. “Everything fit together so well,” Ron said.
Kasper and Culp had the same skin tone, same blood type and both had children and a new grandchild.
“We knew that Anna wished to be cremated, so there wasn’t going to be an open casket,” he said.
“And that Anna was already an organ donor. And that Anna was a match. And for there to be a match was a miracle in itself,” he said.
Culp, a mother-of-two, suffered horrific injuries in September 2004 when her husband shot her in the face from eight feet away.
The blast shattered her nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and an eye, leaving a gaping hole.
Hundreds of fragments of shotgun pellets and bone splinters were embedded in her face and after emergency surgery she could only breathe by having a tube inserted in her windpipe.
More than four years later, she received the first face transplant in the US.
In a 22-hour operation, surgeons transplanted 80 percent of Culp’s face using facial tissue from Kasper, placed on Culp’s face like a mask. Culp received skin and muscle, veins and arteries, teeth and bone.
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Tags: cleveland clinic, culp, daily mail, daughter becky, emergency surgery, emotional reunion, face transplant donor, family mother, first face transplant, gaping hole, heart attack, horrific injuries, kasper, open casket, organ donor, paramedics, shotgun pellets, skin tone, splinters, windpipe