Face transplant recipient reunites with rehab staff at MetroHealth, says she is grateful for prayers and support

Updated: Jan. 15, 2019 at 4:45 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - There was an emotional reunion at MetroHealth Medical Center’s Old Brooklyn campus on Tuesday.

As the youngest patient in the United States to receive a face transplant, she returned to visit and thank the medical staff that prepared her for surgery.

Katie Stubblefield is now 23.

She was 18-years-old when she tried to commit suicide. She survived, but a single bullet destroyed her face.

In 2017, 11 Cleveland Clinic doctors worked for 31 hours to complete her face transplant.

But before that groundbreaking surgery, Stubblefield spent close to 2 years at Metro’s Old Brooklyn campus getting occupational and physical rehabilitation therapy.

"This is like a second family. It's like a homecoming," said Stubblefield.

Today, she has more surgeries ahead of her.

Stubblefield will soon undergo surgery that will help her with her speech.

Her vision is limited, but has improved over the years, according to her mother.

When asked to describe her emotions as she reunited with the therapists at Metro, she said, "I'm grateful for everyone."

Stubblefield’s mother says that her daughter wants to eventually become a counselor so that she can turn her pain into something that can help people.

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