(Updated) Woman receives face transplant at Brigham and Women’s

In a video on her blog, Carmen Blandin Tarleton talks about the lye attack that disfigured her in 2007.  (Video screen shot)
In a video on her blog, Carmen Blandin Tarleton talks about the lye attack that disfigured her in 2007. (Video screen shot)

A Vermont woman disfigured in a violent attack by her estranged husband nearly six years ago said her “spirits are high” and that she feels “really good and happy” after receiving a face transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital this month.

In June 2007, Carmen Blandin Tarleton was beaten and doused with industrial-strength lye by her estranged husband. She spent more than three months in a medically-induced coma, lost almost all her sight, and suffered burns over 80 percent of her body. She underwent dozens of surgeries over the years and is now recovering from her transplant.

The 44-year-old Tarleton, who was a registered nurse and worked on transplant floors of hospitals in California and New Hampshire, was on the waiting list for more than a year, and is the fifth patient to receive a face transplant at Brigham and Women’s.

She did not speak or appear during a news conference at the hospital, but her sister did read a statement on her behalf.

“I feel great appreciation and gratitude for the tremendous gift I have been given,” she said in her statement. “My spirits are high. I feel really good and happy.”

Tarleton also spoke about her doctors and the woman who was the organ donor and gave her a new face.

“What a great gift they’ve given to me,” she said.

The woman who was the organ donor and her family wish to remain anonymous, hospital officials said. However, Richard Luskin, the head of the New England Organ Bank, read a statement on the family’s behalf.

“We believe her spirit will live on through the connections she made in life as well as through the four people she never met,” the family said, referring to the people who were helped through her organ donation.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac led the transplant team of about 40 people during the nearly 15-hour procedure. He said Tarleton will not look much like her donor and she will not look much like her old self either.

Doctors did not have much hope for Tarleton when she first arrived at Brigham and Women’s by medical helicopter.

“She was unrecognizable to anyone who knew her,” Pomahac said. “Her injuries were among the worst I’ve seen in my career.”

Tarleton’s attacker, Herb Rodgers, is serving a minimum of 30 years in prison.

Tarleton chronicled about her experiences in a book that came out just last week, “Overcome: Burned, Blinded, and Blessed.” She also has a blog, in which she discusses of the need to forgive Rodgers.

“I wanted to try and forgive, in order to be completely free from his actions,” Tarleton writes. “I had to believe that it was possible for me to reach and hold onto that goal. I listened to my heart tell me that this event had nothing to do with any of my own wrong-doing and that no one deserves this kind of treatment.

“I believed it. It was an opportunity to propel me to a better place… I would not want to change the past now, for I have already won.”

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter @MetroBos and Michael Naughton @metrobosmike.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.