Transplants: Stem cells, faces, lungs ... such miracles for our time

The miracle of transplant medicine is an omnipresent feature of my life. Since the successful stem cell transplant that cured one of the most aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (mantle cell) in August 2007, reports of similar medical miracles through transplantation capture my attention. Two such stories are clipped below. These episodes are more than simple facts, but these accounts tell the abilities of protagonists to overcome insurmountable odds to regain, health, hope, and life.

She can eat pizza. And hamburgers. She can smell perfume, drink coffee from a cup, and purse her lips as if to blow a kiss. Except that one lip is hers, and the other is from a dead woman. She is the nation's first face transplant patient, and on Thursday night, she went home from a Cleveland hospital. "I'm happy about myself," she told her doctors. | @ltaLINK | @ltaSEARCH

First US face transplant patient leaves hospital
The Associated Press | 2.7.09 | Doctors say the woman who received the nation's first face transplant two months ago has left the hospital in Cleveland. The patient's surgeon said she left ...
First US Face Transplant Patient Leaves Hospital EmpowHer
First face transplant patient leaves Cleveland Clinic WPEC
First US face transplant patient leaves hospital The Associated Press

Grant Prather knows what it’s like to spend endless days in the sterile environment of a hospital room surrounded by tubes and treatment trays. Prather, 26, was born with cystic fibrosis (CF), a debilitating disease that can progress to a systemic failure of the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines. At one point, the doctors told his parents to prepare for his funeral. Although there’s no cure for CF, Grant pulled through, but relied on an oxygen tank to breathe until his double lung transplant in 2000. Now he’s done things he never dreamed possible, such as going to college, driving, running and bringing kids in hospitals a chance to have fun through his non-profit, The Big Fun Box.


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