Brave lady of the day

The recipient of the first full face transplant steps into the spotlight.

By Lynn Harris
Published May 6, 2009 3:27PM (EDT)

The full face transplant: Long has it been the stuff of dark imagination, plot machination, medical experimentation. But now it's become reality, and salvation, for Connie Culp, 46, whose husband, five years ago, picked up a shotgun and literally blew her face off.

Despite numerous surgeries, the sight of her still "made children run away in horror," the New York Times reported. But five months ago Culp received the face of a dead woman, and yesterday she stepped forward in a news conference at the Cleveland Clinic, where the groundbreaking transplant was performed. It's a miracle that Culp can speak -- and smell, and taste, and smile -- at all. And here is what she had to say:

"When somebody has a disfigurement and don’t look as pretty as you do, don’t judge them because you never know what happened to them … Don’t judge people who don’t look the same as you do. Because you never know. One day it might be all taken away."


Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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