This photo of Wyoming man Andy Sandness provided by the Mayo Clinic has a story behind it that will blow your mind.
It took a huge team of surgeons, physicians and other health professionals, but the Mayo Clinic has just pulled off a major victory: the complete face transplant of a Wyoming man who tried to end his own life. The surgery will enable the man, 32-year-old Andrew Sandness, to chew, speak, breathe and smell.
Sandness lost almost his entire face after a gunshot wound he suffered at the age of 21 when he attempted to commit suicide. Sandness reportedly said he was amazed at the outcome, and he was extremely grateful to those that helped him be able to eat normal food and even get some nerve sensation back.
The face transplant was donated by another man who tried to kill himself, and unlike Sandness was successful. The surgery ended up taking more than 50 hours and about 40 surgeons and nurses.
“I am absolutely amazed at the outcome so far,” says Sandness in a Mayo Clinic statement. “I am now able to chew and eat normal food, and the nerve sensation is slowly improving, too. My confidence has improved, and I’m feeling great ― and grateful. I am so thankful to my donor and the donor’s family, and to all of the people who have supported me throughout this process.”
“Mayo Clinic has a long history of specialized teams of experts providing complex care to patients who need hope and healing,” says Dr. Samir Mardini. “This is an extraordinary example of the teamwork, collaboration and compassion that we provide at Mayo Clinic, and I couldn’t be more proud of this team. Andy has been our patient for 10 years. He has worked so hard to prepare for this, and during his entire recovery period, he has been strong, gracious and determined. Andy is an amazing person and so well-deserving of this gift.”