Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Face Transplant Update

Earlier on this blog, I reported on an unusual anatomical gift, a face.

Unlike most anatomical gifts, this one has triggered considerable media attention.

For a current report, see Craig S. Smith, Dire Wounds, a New Face, a Glimpse in a Mirror, NY Times, Dec. 3, 2005.  Here are a few excerpts:

No information was given about the donor, a brain-dead woman whose anonymity is protected by law.

Brain-dead patients in France are presumed to be organ donors unless they have made explicit provisions to the contrary, and approval by next of kin is not normally required. But given the delicacy of the case, the donor's family was consulted about the possible harvesting of part of the donor's face during the initial interviews that are undertaken to ensure that the deceased had not given instructions preventing organ donations.

"The restoration was remarkable," [said] Carine Camby, the director of the French Biomedicine Agency.

By Friday morning, the woman was eating and drinking and speaking clearly, the doctors said. Though she does not yet have muscular control or feeling in the transplanted portion of her face, she is able to open and stretch her mouth with the facial muscles that had remained intact.


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