Isabelle Dinoire, the woman who made headlines for being the first ever patient to successfully have received partial face transplant has sadly passed away.
Dinoire was a victim of a terrible misfortune, as she suffered catastrophic injuries to her face in May 2005 after her Labrador dog attacked her in her sleep. 6 months on, she opted to receive a partial face transplant with a new nose, chin and mouth. This was the world’s first procedure of this kind and drew a lot of international attention and interest. The operation was declared a success by the surgeons, but many debate it as they saw Dinoire struggle to cope up with the post operation effects. Her body never fully accepted the new body parts which came from a donor and got terribly ill soon after the surgery.
Some pin her illness on the powerful immunosuppressant drugs she had been taking for years. But in an illness which finally caused her death, her body rejected a new skin graft last winter, causing her to lose some function in her lips. It has now been revealed that the anti-rejection treatments also are thought to have triggered two different types of cancers. She passed away on April 22,2016 at the age of 49, but the news of her death was announced today by the hospital in Amiens, France. There is a lot of speculation on why the hospital took so much time in making the news public, and there has been no explanation from the authorities as yet.
Dinoire’s death can come off as a major setback in the efforts of furthering the cause of face transplant and helping people who have lost portions of their face due to some misfortune. Some people criticise the procedure, by calling these “non-elective” surgeries wasteful and dangerous.
In an interview with Dinoire after the operation, she said, “From the day of the operation I have a face like everyone else. I can open my mouth and eat. Recently, I feel my lips, my nose and my mouth.”
Brave people like Dinoire and the surgeons making this option a possibility and should be credited for working towards making this pioneering work a reality. But the camp against the surgery is also valid in it’s claim that Dinoire might not have lost her life if she wasn’t socially “forced” to opt for this surgery in the first place.
What are your opinions on this delicate matter? Do you think this surgery should be stopped until better procedures and treatments are found, or do you think the only way to better the procedure is by practising it? Comment below!