WARNING- THE CONTENTS OF THIS POST ARE GRAPHIC
Katie Stubblefield was 18 years old when she tried to take her own life by shooting herself in her Mississippi home. She doesn’t remember attempting suicide, she doesn’t remember the year after it either. What she knows now is that she’s been given a new chance at life, and a new face.
Now 21 years old, she is the youngest person to receive this procedure in the United States and one of 40 who have gotten it done EVER. Katie needed this surgery to be able to chew, breath and swallow easily. The state her face was left in after the injury, was like nothing Doctors have never seen before and it took 11 surgeons, 31 hours and a donor to complete this task. They did things like CT scans of the jaw of Katie’s older sister, Olivia McCay, to 3D-print a model template for the reconstruction. Katie’s procedure involved transplanting the scalp, forehead, upper and lower eyelids, eye sockets, nose, upper cheeks, upper jaw and half of lower jaw, upper teeth, lower teeth, partial facial nerves, muscles and skin. We are talking a lot of time and preparation and what they had to do to prepare is fascinating.
You can read more about the procedure and see a video about Katie and her journey HERE. She was also featured on the cover of Septembers issue of National Geographic Magazine.
Katie plans to start online college soon and pursue a career in counseling and motivation speaking focusing on suicide awareness.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, there are plenty of resources online and via phone. Click HERE for the suicide prevention life line and by phone at 1-800-273-8255