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Face transplants planned at second U.S. hospital

Article-Face transplants planned at second U.S. hospital

Boston — Brigham and Women’s Hospital has become the second U.S. hospital to publicly announce plans to perform partial face transplants, reports the Boston Globe. The Boston hospital recently granted permission to a surgical team to carry out the controversial procedure.

Only three partial face transplants have taken place worldwide — one in China and two in France. The first U.S. hospital to announce plans to perform facial transplants was the Cleveland Clinic, which has 15 potential full face-transplant patients on a waiting list.

Since the first partial face transplant took place in France nearly two years ago, doctors, medical ethicists and others have debated whether face transplants are safe and ethical. Critics question the procedure because of the risks patients may face for a nonlife-threatening disability. Proponents argue that the radical procedure offers hope for recipients to be able to live more complete, satisfying lives.

According to the Globe, doctors at Brigham and Women’s have already met with the New England Organ Bank, which is creating a special consent procedure for families of potential face-transplant donors.

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