On the 22nd August, CNN (digital version) in the section Health- Family, and other media broadcast the news that is going around the world: ‘The Colombian surgeon who participated in the transplant on the face of the youngest ever patient, reveals the details.’ The surgeon is non-other than Steven Rueda, 31 years of age, born in Bogotá and graduated from SGS in 2004. He took part in one of the most important advances in medicine.
Steven has a degree in medicine from Miami University and trained as a plastic surgeon in Cleveland Clinic. It was here that he carried out a great personal and professional challenge, an operation that lasted over 31 hours and which involved specialists from several branches of medicine.
Katie Stubblefield 21, was shot in the face in 2014 suffering multiple injuries that left her physically and emotionally handicapped. Since then she had undergone numerous operations and treatments. For more than a year she was on a waiting list for a compatible donor.
The surgical procedure was carried out on the 4th May 2017 and was very complex. Two medical teams were required: the first to remove the face from the donor patient and the second to transplant the face onto Katie’s. Steven Rueda was in both teams: ‘This was team work including the search for vascular and nerve sutures and the intervention deep in the bone structure of both the donor and the recipient of the transplant. Several surgeons were involved and we had to work together.’ Blu Radio (26th August 2018) Colombian surgeon relates how he carried out transplant on face of a 21 year old. Blu Radio [On line], Spanish. Available: https://www.bluradio.com/nacion/cirujano-colombiano-cuenta-como-realizo-trasplante-de-cara-joven-de-21-anos-188399-ie435 [28th August 2018 ].
To date only 40 people have received facial transplants. For Steven, this procedure was more than a great achievement, it was a life experience. ‘To see that these patients have one more day of life makes one realise just how precious life is and lucky we are.’ He concluded that Katie served as an inspiration. Bravo P. (22nd August 2018) The Colombian surgeon who took part in the facial transplant of the youngest patient in the world reveals details of the operation. CNN. (on line), Spanish. Available: https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2018/08/22/el-cirujano-colombiano-que-participo-en-el-trasplante-de-rostro-a-la-paciente-mas-joven-del-mundo-revela-detalles-de-la-operacion/ [22nd August 2018].