The French woman who received the world's first partial face transplant told a newspaper Wednesday she was doing "very well" but wished the media would let her convalesce in peace. In a brief interview with Le Parisien newspaper, the woman said she felt "bombarded" and asked that she and her family be left alone. The 38-year-old woman, identified as Isabelle D., was the recipient of a groundbreaking operation last month that grafted a nose, chin and lips from a brain-dead donor. The woman's face was disfigured after she was attacked by a dog in May.
The woman's prior psychological condition, and questions over whether she had tried to commit suicide before being maimed by the dog, have fueled ethical questions surrounding the case. "I'm doing very well," the woman told Le Parisien, which said it spoke to her by telephone at her hospital in Lyon, where the operation was conducted. The published interview consisted of three questions that were limited to how she was feeling post-surgery and did not address the question of a past suicide attempt.
"I would like to say one thing: I've just been operated on. It's beneficial for me to live these moments in peace," she said. "At the moment, I feel bombarded." "I also want my family to be left out of this," she said. "They didn't ask to be put on a stage." London's Sunday Times reported that it had spoken to the woman by mobile phone from her hospital bed and that she acknowledged taking an overdose of sleeping pills during a fit of depression this spring. That night, she was mauled by her own Labrador, in circumstances still unclear.
The woman said the reason for her suicide attempt was "secret," according to the newspaper, whose account was sharply contested by the surgeon. Her doctor, however, insisted that his patient had not tried to kill herself.
"She did not try to commit suicide, I have had to say this 10 times," leading transplant surgeon Jean-Michel Dubernard, one of two heads of the teams that carried out the procedure, told The Associated Press by telephone on Monday. I.L.