A woman who received a face transplant after being savagely attacked by her alienated husband has revealed that her donor face is now failing and she may need another.
Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 51, suffered over 80 percent of her body burns after her alienated husband, Herb Rodgers, hit her in 2007 with a baseball bat and doused her body.
Six years ago, she received a face transplant at Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston, but doctors have now discovered tissue damage.
They say that this will likely result in the loss of the donor's face, which means that Tarleton must have a different face.
Carmen Blandin Tarleton, 51, (above) was burned over 80% of her body when her estranged husband hit her with a baseball bat and infused her body with lye in 2007
More than 40 patients worldwide received a facial transplant, 15 of them in the United States.
None of the American patients had such a lost their donor faces, but last year a Frenchman w The tube immune system rejected his donor face eight years after his first transplant and underwent a second.
Tarleton's doctors found that most transplanted organs have a limited lifespan.
But their situation is a reminder that, despite the successes in this field, facial transplantation is experimenting with many unanswered questions about benefits and long-term risks.
"There are so many unknowns and so many new things that we discover," Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, Plastic Surgery Director at Brigham and one of Tarleton's surgeons.
Tarleton, pictured in high school in 1986, received a facial transplant in 2007. Their physicians admit that most transplanted organs have a limited lifespan donor faces, but last year a Frenchman whose immune system repelled his donor face eight years after his first transplant has undergone a second donor ” class=”blkBorder img-share” />
No other American patient has lost his donor face, but last year a Frenchman whose Immune System Eight years after his first transplant, he declined his donor face and underwent a second
Nevertheless, he said, "It is not realistic to hope that the faces will last a lifetime (for the patient)."
Tarleton, now living In Manchester, New Hampshire, she said she does not regret the transplant because she dramatically improved her life.
She studied piano and banjo, wrote a memoir, and talked to several groups about her life.
She has lost 20 pounds and has started to run five miles a week.
Imprisoned: Herb Rodgers, pictured, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment in June 2007 for assaulting his wife. He died in 2017
Marinda Righter, daughter of facial donor Cheryl Denelli-Righter, whose face was given to Tarleton
Dr. Bodhan Pomahac at the podium and his surgical team speak with reporters about the first facial transplantation of Carmen Blandin Tarleton (pictured left)
Tarleton, who now lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, said she does not regret the transplant
& # 39; I had something like that a low quality of life before my facial graft. Do I wish it would have been 10 or 20 years? Of course, "she said.
Since her transplant in February 2013, Tarleton had recurrent rejection episodes as her new face swelled and turned red.
"I was not a typical abused woman": mother of two children who had undergone a face transplant after the ex-husband has showered them with cleanser, says she forgave her attacker
Carmen Tarleton, 51, says she has forgiven her assailant and lives on, having to undergo a facial transplant after a terrible attack by her estranged husband.
Tarleton was doused in 2007 by Herb Rodgers in Lye and beaten with a baseball bat.
The mother said that the decision to forgive her former husband left me room to grow Mach with my life and get to know and trust someone.
She suffered over 80 percent of her body burns and her face was completely disfigured.
Tarleton said she married Herb in 2001 and the marriage was happy.
"We did not have many complicated problems," she said. "I was not a typical abused woman and he had never abused me. So it was more than shocking when it happened.
When the couple moved from Los Angeles to Tarleton's hometown of Vermont, the problems began.
"He [Rodgers] began to disintegrate the year we retired," she said. "I knew he had problems, but I did not know what to do or how to help him."
The couple, who had two daughters, separated but remained good friends. However, a few days after a dispute over the sale of her home, Tarleton woke up at 2:30 to find someone in her home.
She considered it a burglar, but soon realized that it was Rodgers. He pushed her onto the bed and started beating her so hard with a baseball bat that she heard her bones break. Before darkening, she called her then 12- and 14-year-old daughters to lock themselves in the bathroom and call the police.
At that time, Rodgers produced a bottle of industrial detergent that he had brought with him and sprayed her face and body. Then he waited for the arrival of the police and was arrested at the scene.
Tarleton was in a coma for three months after the attack and lost both eyes although the sight is back in one.
In February 2009, Rodgers was sentenced to a maximum of 70 years in prison, 30 of them without parole for the attack.
He died in 2017.
] These episodes were successfully handled, but in the last month, the Doctors noted that some blood vessels in her face had narrowed and closed, leading to the death of facial tissue.
If the damage progresses slowly, she might be on the waiting list for another donor's face.
In the worst case, the tissue would die quickly and the doctors would have to remove it and reconstruct their original face.
"We all know that we are in unknown waters," she said. "I would prefer not to suffer catastrophic failure."
It will take at least a month for Tarleton to be investigated and a second transplant decision made, doctors said. Apart from the setback on the face, an artificial cornea transplanted into her left eye has recently failed and has almost blinded her.
& # 39; She said. I come back to where I was. Like, I do not know. I will go through this. "
Dr. Brian Gastman, a transplant surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, who performed the first facial transplant in the US eleven years ago, said more and more patients are suffering from chronic rejection.
"We all believe that every patient will probably need another transplant at some point," he said.
Tarleton's assailant and alienated husband, Herb Rodgers, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his barbaric attack, although he died in 2017. 19659003] Rodgers admitted that he broke into Tarleton's house in 2007 to kill a man he believed was romantically involved.
He hit her with a baseball bat and then showered them with industrial lye, a metal hydroxide used to make soap, oven cleaners, and drain cleaners.
Later Rodgers said, "I lost it, I just lost it. & # 39;
Tarleton published a book about her experiences with the title "Overcome: Burned, Blinded and Blessed".
The book begins with Tarleton's decision to move with her two children in tow across the country from Vermont to Los Angeles to work as a nurse in a UCLA hospital.
There she met Rodgers, whom she eventually married. The family moved back to Thetford, where their marriage began to disperse – partly because of Rodgers' dishonesty, she writes.
Tarleton remembers what she calls foreshadowing today. One night, when she was going to the hospital for her night shift, her 12-year-old daughter sobbed in her bedroom. When she asked what was going on, her daughter said, "Something really, really bad will happen to you."
Eight months later, it happened.