Carmen Blandin Tarleton: Face Transplants

Before and After Photos of Carmen Blandin Tarleton
Carmen Blandin Tarleton, photographed prior to the 2007 attack that burned over 80 percent of her body (left), after the attack (middle), and in February 2021, after receiving a second face transplant.

Second Transplant

First Transplant

Carmen Blandin Tarleton is a 52-year-old mother of two, who recently became the first person in the U.S., and second in the world, to receive a second face transplant.

Carmen’s first face transplant resulted from a brutal attack by her estranged husband in June of 2007. She was beaten and doused with industrial strength lye, which burned over 80 percent of her body.

Carmen was air-lifted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she was put into a medically induced coma. She underwent 38 surgeries over a three-month period. Over the next five years, Carmen had 17 additional surgeries, including some to restore her sight. Despite this, she was left severely disfigured and legally blind.

In December 2011, she was approved for a face transplant and, in February 2013, the New England Organ Bank identified a donor, Cheryl Denelli Righter, who had died from a sudden stroke. Carmen received a full face transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

In October 2019, Carmen was listed for a second face transplant after the small vessels that supply blood to the face beneath the skin were injured over time as a result of chronic rejection of her first transplant. This had led to scarring, tightness and associated pain.

Working with New England Donor Services, the Brigham clinical team found a donor match, Casey Labrie, who was 36 when she died. Carmen received her second full face transplant in July 2020.

An author and a motivational speaker, Carmen is excited about the future, moving forward, and starting a new chapter in her life.

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