A 22-year-old woman who became the youngest person in the US to receive a face transplant is speaking out about how lucky she feels to be alive.
In March 2014, Katie Stubblefield attempted to take her own life by shooting herself in the face at her brother’s Mississippi home.
After jumping from hospital to hospital fighting for her life, she underwent a 31-hour operation in May 2017 to receive a face transplant – the 40th person in the world to do so,Mailonline reports.
After three years, Katie could finally chew, swallow and breathe independently.
In an interview with ABC’s Nightline, Katie reveals that despite the grueling therapy and several surgeries still ahead, she feels ‘whole again’ and said she hopes to become an advocate for suicide prevention.
The teenager had shot herself under the chin with Robert’s .308-caliber hunting rifle.
Despite initial fears that Katie was dead, first responders found a pulse and rushed her to the hospital.
The majority of her face was gone, but she was still able to speak.
‘When she was in that ER…she said: “Tell my mom and dad I love her – love them. I’m sorry”,’ her father said. ‘It took a lot of strength.