"Everyone deserves a second chance": how the fate of the man who had a face transplant turned out, and how he looks now. Photo
American Andy Sandness tried to end his life at the age of 21 and shot himself in the head with a shotgun with which he liked to hunt. The reason for the suicide attempt was prolonged depression. It happened in 2006. He survived, but most of his face was missing, namely his nose, chin and jaw.
After the tragedy, Andy's life became a living hell: he ate through a tube and wore a prosthetic nose that kept falling off. He underwent 15 surgeries, but his appearance was still far from ideal. After 10 years, doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA decided to do Sandness face transplant.
OBOZREVATEL tells how the fate of the guy after the unique operation.
The specialists spent 3.5 years preparing for the operation, the main challenge for the doctors was to ensure successful skin grafting and avoid rejection, disease development and muscle weakening. Another important issue was to find a donor with the same blood type, proportions and skin color, matching Andy as much as possible.
The donor was 21-year-old Kalen Ross, who took his own life. In his suicide note, he asked for his organs to be transplanted to other people. His 19-year-old wife Lilly, who was eight months pregnant, went to the clinic to fulfill her husband's wish.
The face transplant surgery lasted 56 hours and involved 60 medical professionals. Fortunately, everything went well and after three weeks the patient was able to look at himself in the mirror when the swelling and scarring disappeared. After the surgery, he resembled his deceased donor. Lily Ross contacted Andy to introduce him to her husband's son, whose face was transplanted to him.
"Thank you so much," Andy said from the bottom of his heart to the widow and her son. Sandness started a foundation in honor of his donor to help little Rudy and Lilly Ross. He, along with the late donor's family, is now helping to raise awareness in the community about organ donation and suicide prevention. Lilly Ross' husband saved the lives of six people by taking his own life. "Everyone deserves a second chance," Andy believes.
Now Andy is back to normal life, he can breathe, smell and eat freely. The man with a new face got a job as an electrician, he has an active leisure time, he is not afraid to appear in public. Sandness dreams of finding love and starting a family.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL wrote about the operations on organ transplantation, conducted in Lviv. For six days, doctors made seven transplants, among them heart, liver and five kidneys. All details of operations in our material.