Donor for world's first face transplant had hanged herself
Sunday 04 December 2005
The donor whose features were used for the world's first face transplant had committed suicide just hours before the operation.
As Isabelle Dinoire, 38, the recipient mauled by her pet labrador, was eating strawberries and chocolate yesterday following the operation, it emerged that the source of her new nose, lips and chin had hanged herself.
The woman, also 38, was brain dead when she arrived at a hospital in Lille last weekend, at which point preparations for the groundbreaking surgery began.
Her family gave consent for the operation.
Ms Dinoire was given her new start in a 15-hour procedure that ended on Monday morning. Speaking yesterday for the first time since the operation, she said: "I am very grateful to this woman. I thank her family for giving their permission for this operation. I thank them from the bottom of my heart."
She had suffered her appalling injuries after she lost consciousness following an overdose of sleeping tablets, which she has now confirmed was an attempt on her own life. Her dog, which has been destroyed, is thought to have been trying to revive her.
Now recovering from the surgery in the Eduard Herriot hospital in Lyons, she has been able to admire the work of the surgeons who had to ensure a match for skin tone and quality.
"I have been looking at my face in the mirror. It is very impressive. They have given me my face back," she told The Sunday Times.
The unmarried woman, who has two children, has some movement in her face, but any sensation could take many months. Doctors have warned that there is still a risk of the new skin not taking, and it will need to be monitored closely for up to six months and treated with anti-rejection drugs.
If rejection does occur, the new skin would have to be removed completely, but the team has said it would perform the procedure again in that situation.
Prior to her surgery, Ms Dinoire had to wear a mask in public because of her shocking appearance, which led to teasing by those who saw her who assumed she was obsessed with germs. The injuries meant that she had trouble eating, breathing and talking with her lips completely absent. She had been on a waiting list for the surgery since August.
Medical teams have revealed that they are already competing to be the first to attempt a full-face transplant. Surgeons are now considering how they could develop the technique to give a patient a completely new face.
Ethical and medical concerns have delayed plans to attempt such an operation. But a team at the Royal Free Hospital in London is planning to attempt a full-facial transplant, as is the Cleveland Clinic in the US.
The French surgeons who performed Ms Dinoire's surgery denied suggestions that they had been rushing to perform the operation to claim a world first.
"As doctors, if we have the possibility to improve [the condition of] our patient, that is what we do," said Dr Jean-Michel Dubernard, the team leader who performed a controversial hand transplant in September 1998. He said he initially had doubts about performing such an operation but when he first saw her face he realised there was no other option.
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Terrorism explanation 'cannot be ruled out', says CIA
Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Bad cattitude: Family call police after crazed and 'hostile cat with a history of violence' attacks baby before attempting to 'flee custody'
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: One of the largest mobile advert...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client specialises in creati...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Private Cli...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residential...