Vets to receive face transplants in Boston

Dec. 21, 2009 at 11:37 AM
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BOSTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has been awarded $3.4 million to fund face transplants for U.S. veterans hurt in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said.

The money, from the Department of Defense, is to fund six to eight complete face transplants during the next 18 months and can also be used to fund a face transplant for a civilian.

Brigham performed its first face transplant in April on a Massachusetts man who was severely injured in a subway accident.

Under the defense department award, patients must be missing at least 25 percent of their faces, Dr. Barry Martin, of Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, told The Boston Globe in a story published Monday.

"All you have to do is walk through the wards here and you'd find patients you'd consider,'' Barry said. "We're left dealing with some pretty horrific injuries on patients who are going to live.''

Many of the veterans who would qualify for face transplants were injured by improvised explosive devices and are being treated at Walter Reed, the Globe reported.

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