Man who shot himself in the face undergoes life-changing face transplant
Cameron Underwood, who attempted to take his own life by shooting himself in the face, has now undergone a face transplant.
The Yuba City, California native, had a life-changing reconstruction operation on his face back in January, and the results have only now been revealed.
The 26-year-old welder attempted to commit suicide in June of 2016. As a result of the gun shot, he lost the majority of his lower jaw, his nose, and all of his teeth except from one. He also sustained considerable damage to his palate and maxillary region.
After several attempts at more conventional surgery, which bore limited success, Cameron solicited the help of Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who works at NYU Langone Health in New York.
The complex operation involved the work of over 100 medical professionals, who spent more than 25 hours working on Cameron.
At a press conference held in New York today, Cameron expressed his gratitude;
"I am so grateful to have a face transplant because it gives me a second chance at life. Even though I'm still recovering and gaining back sensation and mobility, mostly with my lips, I'm still very happy with the results. I have a nose, and a mouth so I'm able to smile, to speak and eat solid foods again."
"For all of us it's really remarkable to be a part of this and make this happen," Dr. Rodriguez corroborated. "There's no way we could have ever taken him back to a normal life without a face transplant."
Cameron waited six months to find a suitable donor, who turned out to be 23-year-old aspiring writer and filmmaker, William Fisher, who died on New Year's Eve last year, following a long battle with mental illness.
In a statement about her son's contribution to Cameron's cause, William's mother, Sally, said "My son's death was a tragedy."
"I am thankful that, in honouring his decision, we were able to give life to others, and especially that Will and Dr. Rodriguez have given Cameron and his family a chance to recapture their dreams," she continued.
"Being a part of this experience has been a source of strength for me during a very difficult time. I don't think I would have survived Will's death if not for Cameron. Cameron has his whole life ahead of him - and I love the idea that Willie is helping him have a better life."
Cameron paid tribute to Will and the support of the Fisher family during his speech at the press conference. "I want Sally and her family to know how much my family and I appreciate their gift and I'll always honour Will's legacy," he stated.
"I'd like to say that there have been so many amazing advances in surgery. I'm living proof of that. But it only happens because of special people like Will and his family."