US woman meets man who got her dead brother's face in transplant

In an emotional get-together, a woman has met for the first time a man who received her late brother's face in a groundbreaking transplant.
Rebekah-Aversano-and-Richard-Norris-at-his-home-Photo-60-Minutes-Australia
Rebekah-Aversano-and-Richard-Norris-at-his-home-Photo-60-Minutes-Australia
Updated on May 30, 2015 11:50 AM IST
Copy Link
PTI | By, Los Angeles

In an emotional get-together, a woman has met for the first time a man who received her late brother's face in a groundbreaking transplant.

Rebekah Aversano visited Richard Norris at his Virginia home and stroked his face — which once belonged to her 21-year-old brother Josh.

"Do you mind if I touch it?" Aversano asked during the emotional meeting filmed by "60 Minutes Australia."





"Wow," she said in the 30-second teaser. "This is the face I grew up with."

The family of Aversano had donated the face of Josh to Richard Norris, who had suffered severe facial disfigurement after accidentally shooting himself in 1997 when he was 22.

Norris, now 39, had undergone dozens of conventional operations to try to repair damage from the shooting accident but had limited success, leaving him depressed and suicidal.

In one of the most complex face transplants in history, a team at the University of Maryland medical centre took 36 hours in March 2012 to transplant teeth, a jaw, tongue muscles and nerves.

Joshua's mother, Gwen, told Canada's CTV News network the family knew the donation was the right thing to do.

"We can definitely see our son in him. Some of the facial features would definitely be our son, so we could see similarities, very much so", she said.

Norris chose to have the transplant even though doctors gave him only a 50 per cent chance of survival.

The doctor who performed the operation, Eduardo Rodriguez, said Norris took on an enormous responsibility because his body will always regard the new face as a foreign object, prompting attacks by his immune system.

Norris cannot drink or smoke and must take a cocktail of anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life.

Doctors in France performed the world's first partial face transplant in 2005 on a woman who was mauled by her dog.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

    July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

    As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend. Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday.

  • This image of a "Most Wanted" poster obtained from the FBI on June 30, 2022, shows Ruja Ignatova. - Ignatova, dubbed the "Crypto Queen." after she raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme was placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives list June 30, 2022. (Photo by Handout / FBI / AFP) / 

    Bulgaria's ‘Crypto Queen’ Ruja Ignatova added to FBI's most-wanted list

    Quicked is empty for story with id 101656645778593

  • After registering around 4,000 to 5,000 deaths per day throughout most of the winter, Europe is currently seeing around 500 deaths per day, about the same level as during the summer of 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

    Europe to see 'high levels' of Covid this summer: WHO

    With the milder but more contagious Omicron subvariant BA.5 spreading across the continent, the 53 countries in the WHO European region are currently registering just under 500,000 cases daily, according to the organisation's data. That is up from around 150,000 cases daily at the end of May. Austria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal were the countries with the highest incidence rates, with almost all countries in the region seeing a rise in cases.

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

    China says New Zealand PM's comments on assertiveness ‘wrong’

    China's embassy in New Zealand rebuked New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for comments she made at the NATO summit about Chinese assertiveness, calling them "misguided" and "wrong". Ardern said on Wednesday in Madrid that China has "in recent times also become more assertive and more willing to challenge international rules and norms." New Zealand, which is heavily reliant on China for trade, has often shied away from direct criticism of Beijing.

  • The North has claimed the Covid wave has shown signs of subsiding, though experts suspect under-reporting in the figures released through government-controlled media.

    North Korea blames 'alien things' near border with South for Covid outbreak

    Quicked is empty for story with id 101656633439621

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, July 01, 2022