How a Transplanted Face Transformed a Young Woman’s Life

The cover story of the September National Geographic magazine is a detailed account of Katie Stubblefield's face transplant. At 21, she's the youngest American to ever receive a facial transplant. Before the transplant, Stubblefield underwent multiple surgeries for years to save and improve her life, but she sustained so much damage that the repairs didn't quite resemble a face. Her story is fascinating, but may be difficult for some because of the graphic images, including the surgery and one picture of the donor's disembodied face. The issues raised in the article are thought-provoking, and may also be disturbing: suicide, drug addiction, health insurance, guns, medical decisions, family caregiving, military experiments, and the ethics of non-lifesaving transplantation. The article at National Geographic traces Stubblefield's life as well as that of her donor, Adrea Schneider, their families, and the groundbreaking surgery itself.

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