In a first, African American man gets a full-face transplant
Robert Chelsea, 68, became the first African American and just the 15th person in the US to get a full face transplant at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in July 2019. Mr. Chelsea suffered extensive injuries to his face after a drunk driver hit him in 2013. He underwent 30 surgeries, but he was still incapacitated as the doctors could not reconstruct his lips, part of his nose and his left ear. He spent a year and a half on the face transplant waiting list for a donor face. He was unable to accept an earlier offer in 2018 because the donor’s skin tone was much lighter than his. Finally, in July this year, the family of a 62-year-old man who had suddenly died agreed to the donation. The donor’s skin tone was almost identical to Mr. Chelsea’s. Following a 16-hour surgical procedure involving over 45 doctors and nurses, Robert Chelsea received his face transplant. He made a good recovery and was able to eat, talk and breathe on his own after just 10 days. He is now ready to ‘face’ the world.
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- Keywords: injuries