Connie Culp of Ohio lost the middle part of her face in the fall of 2004, when her husband shot her and then himself. He survived with minor injuries and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Connie was left with a devastating and traumatic injury to the mid section of her face. She lost an eye, her nose, her upper jaw and lip, palate, and lower eyelids. She couldn’t eat solid food, smell, or taste, and could only breathe through a hole in her neck.
The Dec. 9 operation, considered the most complex face transplant to date, lasted nearly 23 hours. After doctors removed scar tissue, bone grafts, and metal from her previous surgeries, Culp received 80 percent of the face and underlying tissue of an organ donor.
Culp was released from the Clinic on Feb. 5th. Her name, age, and type of injury had been withheld to protect her privacy.
She spoke to the media briefly for the first time Tuesday at a news conference held at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Clinic campus.
Culp, who had been taunted and called names because of her appearance, asked that everyone think twice about judging people who look differently.
“When somebody has a disfigurement or doesn’t look as pretty as you, don’t judge them,” she said. “You never know what happened to them and you never know what might happen to you . . . . it might all be taken away.”