A 38-year-old French woman who had the world’s first partial face transplant has asked journalists to respect her privacy after a media frenzy over the operation that gave her a new nose, lips and chin.
The woman, who was disfigured when her dog mauled her, said she was feeling well more than a week after the operation but the media attention was a problem.
“All is well. But I want to pass on a message. I’ve just been operated on and it would help me to have some peace and quiet now,” she told French newspaper Le Parisien in brief comments published on Wednesday.
“At the moment I feel very hassled. I also want my family to be left out of all of this. They never asked to be in the spotlight,” it quoted her as saying by telephone from her hospital bed in the southeastern city of Lyon.
Newspapers, radio stations and television networks around the world have been fascinated by the operation, performed by surgeons in northern France on Nov. 27.
Jean-Michel Dubernard, one of the surgeons, has criticised newspapers for seeking pictures and details of the patient, who has asked to remain anonymous. He described some of the media coverage as “odious”.
Some newspapers in Britain and France have suggested the patient took an overdose of sleeping pills and that the donor tried to commit suicide.
Le Parisien quoted the patient’s 17-year-old daughter on Wednesday as saying she was sure her mother had tried to commit suicide but did not say why.
Doctors have denied this, saying the patient was attacked by her dog when she stepped on it late at night. They said she had been drowsy after taking medicine to calm her down following an argument with her daughter.
Dubernard said some newspapers had published stories about the patient and the brain-dead donor which were factually wrong and that some had published their identities. In the donor’s case, he said, this violated French law.