Culp died Wednesday of issues from an an infection unrelated to her transplant, Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Andrea Pacetti instructed Source.
“Connie was an incredibly brave, vibrant woman and an inspiration to many,” stated Dr. Frank Papay, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute, who was a part of Connie’s surgical group.
“Her strength was evident in the fact that she had been the longest-living face transplant patient to date,” Papay stated in an announcement. “She was a great pioneer and her decision to undergo a sometimes daunting procedure is an enduring gift for all of humanity.”
Culp misplaced the mid-portion of her face after being shot by her husband in 2004. The Ohio mom of two was left partially blind, unable to odor and communicate, and she or he needed to depend on a surgical opening in her neck to breathe.
In December 2008, she underwent a 22-hour transplant surgical procedure led by Dr. Maria Siemionow, through which the face of a deceased donor was formed and fitted to Culp. Layers of tissue, bone, muscle and blood vessels, nerve grafts, arteries and veins have been related, and medical doctors crammed within the lacking elements of her face.
Culp instructed Source that yr that she was proud of the transplant. “I can smell now,” she stated. “I can eat steak; I can eat almost any solid foods — so it’s all getting better.”
Culp turned an advocate of organ donation and delivered speeches about her expertise.