So the United States has performed its first full facial transplant:
Dallas Weins and his family have documented his journey from injury to face transplant on his website, dallaswiens.com, including photos that show Dallas prior to the accident, and his recovery from the injury, through skin grafts and ultimately, the face transplant.
No photos have been released of Weins post surgery, but as he recovers it is likely that he will be seen in photos and interviews. He won’t look like he used to, and he won’t look like his donor, but he will be a unique combination of the two. While the surgery won’t restore his vision, his goals are far more simple: smiling and feeling kisses from his young daughter.
At least a few people have responded that it’s a waste of resources. I tend to disagree. I mean, right now it’s ridiculously expensive because it’s groundbreaking stuff, but this is how a lot of things start. And it’s not like he’s doing it to go from okay to great looking. He’s going from terrible looking to less terrible looking. It’s a big difference that I doubt the normal looking among us can really appreciate.
It does bring to light the question of who is footing the bill. I’ve heard a couple of different stories. The local paper cited the PPACA (also known as Obamacare):
Wiens had no health insurance when he was injured. Medicaid paid for several surgeries after the accident until his disability payments put him over Medicaidís income limit.
But because of the reform lawís dependent coverage requirement ó which says dependent children are eligible for coverage under a parentís employer-sponsored plan until they reach the age of 26 ó the 25-year-old Wiens was able to obtain health insurance under his fatherís plan.
But a couple of sources have said something different:
The surgery is being paid for by a $3.4 million Defense Department grant intended to advance research into the procedure for use on wounded military members, a Pentagon spokesman said.
Maybe it’s a combination of the two.