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Vermont Mom Disfigured by Lye Attacks Gets Face Transplant

Jochen Sand/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A Vermont mom, injured by a lye attack that left her disfigured and legally blind, has received a face transplant at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Carmen Blandin Tarleton, a registered nurse and mother of two from Thetford, Vt., was injured in 2007 when her estranged husband broke into her home, attacked her with a baseball bat and doused her with industrial strength lye.

More than 80 percent of Tarleton's body was burned in the attack and she was placed in a medically induced coma for three months. Even though Tarleton, 44, endured more than 55 surgeries to treat her numerous chemical burns, she was left disfigured, blind and unable to move her neck.

"Despite our best efforts, Carmen was left severely disfigured and in constant pain. She would drool almost constantly," Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the director of plastic surgery transplantation at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told reporters.

Pomahac spent 15 hours leading a surgical team of more than 30 members as they carefully transplanted facial skin, including the neck, nose, lips, facial muscles, arteries and nerves of the donor. Pomahac estimated that Tarleton would regain 75 to 80 percent of facial movement and would slowly regain feeling and motor functions in her face during the next six months to a year.
This is the fifth face transplant performed at the hospital.

Tarleton, who remains at the hospital recovering, thanked her doctors in a statement read to reporters by her sister Kesstan Blandin.

"I feel great appreciation and gratitude for the tremendous gift I've been given," Tarleton said in a statement. "We're all excited to move into this new chapter of our lives together."

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