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Thursday, May 7, A.D. 2009
Connie Culp

Earlier in the week, Drudge featured the first facial transplant in the United States. The recipient is a woman named Connie Culp, whose husband shot her in the face six years ago. Miraculously, she survived the shot gun attack, and she has undergone thirty surgeries, with more to follow. You can also read the article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which includes a video with parts of her speech and a remarkable image scan that shows how much shot impacted her face.

Though a Luddite at heart, I marvel at the work of the Cleveland Clinic. Modern medicine in general is pretty amazing. Descartes hoped that his scientific project would help man to overcome the fall, and we see the fruits of the conquest to master nature in this story. I find it troubling for its implications, but it remains undeniably impressive.

Here is Mrs. Culp’s full speech:

I found this story quite moving. I often think that I realize how much that I take for granted, but then I encounter such stories and I am reminded by my casual ingratitude. Never before have I considered not having a nose. How fortunate we are, and how quickly we complain. As Mrs. Culp reminds us, echoing the lessons of Job, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Fascinated and humbled by Culp’s grace in her ordeal, I looked into her case. Evidently, her husband Thomas Culp shot her and then shot himself. Mrs. Culp remembers the episode well. The husband survived, and he is currently serving seven years in prison. He only received seven years for shooting his wife in the head! Is that justice? Even more remarkable is that Mrs. Culp remains married to him and seemingly has forgiven him.

You may wish to watch an interview with Mrs. Culp by Steubenville’s WTOV—before her facial transplant but after twenty surgeries. In the interview, we discover that Mrs. Culp can barely see now, but she does relate that she could see her husband shoot himself after he shot her. She also tells of the first time that night when she saw herself in a mirror. The story is so dreadful, and yet she perseveres.

It seems that Mrs. Culp is an average, working class Midwesterner. Yet, we see in her story some incredible nobility. Perhaps, there is hope for the human race after all. We have survived for thousands of years. Mrs. Culp—and perhaps the grace of God—indicate why.

Many blessing to Connie Culp.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, May 7, Anno Domini 2009
Philosophy | AnthropologyEthicsComments
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