The story

Doctors chose a woman who survived a shotgun wound to her face as the first recipient of a face transplant after treating her for nearly four years.

Connie Culp knew of the Cleveland Clinic's interest in face transplants and approached the medical staff, doctors said at a news conference Tuesday.

Dr. Maria Siemionow, the Cleveland, Ohio, hospital's director of plastic surgery research and head of microsurgery training, had more than 20 years of experience in complex transplants. By 2004, Siemionow was looking for the right candidate for a face transplant who wasn't doing it for vanity.

"They are not looking to go out on the street and be beautiful," Siemionow told CNN in a 2006 interview. "Some of these patients, when they were interviewed just said 'I want to walk on the street and just make sure I am not sticking out.' They just want to have a normal face."

The doctors examined the patient's history, motivation and ability to understand the risks of the transplant. And they found Culp to be an ideal candidate. Read full article »

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