Today’s story First UK face transplant is in jeopardy is interesting not just because the doctors are requiring potential face transplant patients to have total anonymity, but because it’s part of a program they’re on to be performing the transplants as procedures within 2 years. I bet this means it’ll be widely available within the next 5 years. So very Brazil. Snip:
The medical team intending to carry out Britain’s first face transplant has discovered that a relative of one of its patients has been trying to sell her story to newspapers, despite the fact that any such coverage would jeopardise the operation.
A former partner of a prospective patient is understood to have been offering the story to tabloid newspapers. The consultant leading the surgical team, Peter Butler, today appealed for patients and their families not to give the stories to the media, as any publicity before the operation would derail the two-year project to offer full-face transplants.
About 40 people with facial deformities are currently receiving psychological treatment at the Royal Free Hospital in north London in a programme which will lead to a handful being picked for a full-face transplant.
The first such operation was carried out last year in France on Isabelle Dinoire, and has been hailed as a huge success.
Butler, who has pioneered the project to carry out face transplants in Britain, said he feared that ‘chequebook journalism’ could make it impossible for patients to be considered. Under rules set out by a medical ethics committee, any patient eligible for surgery could not receive it without giving fully informed consent – a lengthy process that involves the patient being completely free of any financial interests or external pressures, including television or newspaper coverage.