Created on: March 03, 2013 Last Updated: March 04, 2013
A mother in Vermont was tragically injured in a lye attack several years ago that left her severely burned and legally blind.
Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 44, is a registered nurse and a mother of two. In June 2007, she was viciously attacked by her estranged husband after he broke into her home, reported ABC News. Tarleton was attacked with a baseball bat and then "doused in industrial strength lye".
This brutal attack left Tarleton severely injured. Since the attack, she has undergone more than 50 surgeries.
"Despite our best efforts, Carmen was left severely disfigured and in constant pain. She would drool almost constantly," Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the director of plastic surgery transplantation at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told the media.
After a donor was recently found, doctors gave Tarleton a face transplant. It was a risky procedure, but Tarleton wanted to take the chance, according to media reports.
The surgery was led by Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, director of plastic surgery transplantation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A team of 30 surgeons performed the 15-hour surgery. The Boston Globe reported this was the hospital's fifth face transplant, but the most complex. The surgery date is not being shared publicly, as the family of the donor wants to remain anonymous.
It is anticipated Tarleton will regain approximately 75 to 80 percent of her facial movement and motor functions over the next three to six months, said doctors.
“She is in great spirits,’’ Pomahac said during a press conference several days after the surgery. “She’s one of the most inspirational people I have ever met.’’ He said her face “looks amazing.”
Tarleton has been posting on a blog.
"I could never have imagined the overwhelming feelings I encountered after my surgery. I could freely move my head from side to side without the usual scar discomfort I have felt for almost six years now. I cried with such a deep appreciation for the persons truly responsible for giving me this gift: this new physical freedom," Tarleton wrote on Feb. 27, 2013. "I am so grateful for all that have been watching over me with such tenderness and loving care. I know how truly blessed I am, and will have such a nice reflection in the mirror to remind myself what selfless really is. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
On March 1, 2013, Tarleton wrote another blog post entitled "Recovery Phase" in which she describes her recovery as "intense," but also says she is already feeling some relief from the pain.
To date, more than 20 face transplants have been given worldwide. The first successful one was performed in 2005.
Tarleton has written a book about her attack, "Overcome: Burned, Blinded, and Blessed."
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