This morning during the news I had a story about how surgeons at the Mayo Clinic just completed the first face transplant ever performed at that prestigious facility. It was a short story so I thought I'd try to find out a little more information. According to, the recipient of this life-changing procedure, 31-year-old Andy Sandness, was disfigured by a gunshot to his face in a suicide attempt a little more than 10 years ago. Ironically, the donor's face came from another man, Calen "Rudy" Ross, who had taken his own life.

Sandness, in a state of depression, attempted to kill himself just a couple of days before Christmas in 2006. The gunshot destroyed his nose and jaw and left him with only two teeth. Dr. Samir Mardini at the Mayo Clinic did what he could to reconstruct the young man's face but could only do so much. He later contacted Sandness about a being a candidate for the Mayo Clinic's newly launched face transplant program. After several psychiatric and social tests, he was added to the waiting list of the United Network for Organ Sharing.

A suitable match was finally found in June 2016. It took 60 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and others to perform this successful 56-hour procedure. In an Associated Press story, Sandness happily says that he's "just another face in the crowd" now.

If you’re experiencing depression, make sure you seek help. Talk with your physician, a trusted family member or friend. If you’re having feelings of a self-destructive nature, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or the South Central Mobile Crisis Team at (877) 399-3040.

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