A Vermont woman who was terribly disfigured in an attack by her estranged husband has received a full face transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the hospital said Wednesday morning. It’s the fifth face transplant performed by Brigham surgeons.
Carmen Tarleton, now 44, was at home in Thetford with her two girls when her husband forced his way inside and attacked her in June 2007. After battering her head with a baseball bat, he squirted industrial-strength lye from a dish soap bottle onto her arms, legs, back, and face, burning over 80 percent of her body, police said at the time.
Tarleton, who was nearly blinded in the assault, had waited longer than any other Brigham patient for a face transplant. She had been on the waiting list for 14 months.
During a press conference at the hospital, doctors said Tarleton is recovering well from her surgery, which occurred this month. The hospital does not disclose the date of transplants to protect the identity of donors, who usually are anonymous.
“She is in great spirits,’’ said lead surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac. “She’s one of the most inspirational people I have ever met.’’
He said that Tarleton is the hospital’s most complex face transplant patient so far, but that she was eager for the surgery because she suffered such extreme disfigurement and pain. Tarleton did not attend the press conference, but members of her family did. Her sister, Kesstan Blandin, read a statement from her.
I’m really impressed at how good the spirits are of the woman, as the interview given was pre-op. I’ve been following the face transplants that have been going on her in Boston since the first one, and I’ve been AMAZED at how GOOD they look. You always assume with a radical new procedure its going to be a bit primitive at first, but that really hasn’t been the case, the patient looks damn near normal as soon as the first stage heals, and they have the cosmetic side of it to look forward to where they will get so much closer to how they looked before they were injured.
Also because its my blog, I’ll note that industrial lye isn’t a gun.