Second face transplant for Frenchman in world-first

A man whose body rejected a face transplant he received seven years ago has been given a second donor face after living nearly two months without one. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Second face transplant for Frenchman in world-first

PARIS: A man whose body rejected a face transplant he received seven years ago has been given a second donor face after living nearly two months without one, French medical agencies said Friday.
It is the first time in transplant history that doctors have replaced one donor face with another, according to Olivier Bastien of France’s biomedicine agency.
More than 12 years since the first-ever face graft was done, in France, it remains a high-risk procedure.
A transplant can help recipients — often victims of accidents, violence, or rare genetic disorders — to resume basic tasks such as breathing, eating and speaking, and restores non-verbal communication through smiles and frowns.
But it also means a life-long reliance on immunosuppressant medicines, to stop the body rejecting the “foreign” organ. These drugs can leave a person vulnerable to infections and cancers.
It is a rare procedure with fewer than 40 operations performed to date, and at least six patients have died.
The latest recipient, in his 40s, went under the knife at a Paris hospital on Monday, for a procedure that lasted nearly a full day, according to a joint press statement issued by the biomedicine agency and the AP-HP public hospital system.
The man’s original graft had been removed in an operation on November 30, and he was kept on life support in an induced coma until the follow-up procedure.
“This graft shows for the first time... that re-transplantation is possible in the case of chronic rejection” of a donor face, said the statement.
It will be weeks before doctors can say whether the second graft has taken.
The recipient of the world’s first face transplant, Isabelle Dinoire, died of cancer in April 2016, 11 years after her groundbreaking operation.
Doctors said her body had rejected the transplant, and she had lost partial use of her lips by the time she died.


British boat rescues migrants trying to cross Channel

Updated 18 February 2019
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British boat rescues migrants trying to cross Channel

  • British border officials have picked up 34 people who were trying to cross the English Channel in a small boat
  • The Home Office said the passengers are thought to be migrants and their nationalities were not known yet

LONDON: A British boat rescued 34 migrants crossing the Channel aboard a small motorised boat on Monday, Britain's interior ministry said.
"Today Border Force responded to an incident in the Channel involving a small boat containing 34 people," the ministry said in a statement.
"The group were brought to Dover and have been transferred to immigration officials for interview," it added, saying that men, women and children were on board and that three men were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.
French authorities earlier said that "a fishing boat gave the alarm shortly after 8:00 am (0700 GMT)" after spotting the boat off the tip of northern France.
French navy, police and customs launched a helicopter, a tug boat and three fast vessels, while sea rescue services also tried to rescue the migrants.
By the time they reached the migrants' location, however, "they had crossed over to the English side" of the Channel where they were picked up by a British vessel, said the regional authority in northern France.
Two British Border Force cutters and a coastal patrol vessel were involved in the rescue, according to UK authorities.
Some 500 people -- most of them over the last two months of 2018 -- attempted to cross the Channel to Britain last year, compared with just 13 known attempts in 2017.
French interior ministry figures show 276 people successfully reached British waters last year.
London in December dispatched a navy ship to help coastguard boats watch over the 21 miles (33 kilometres) of sea that separate France and Britain at its narrowest point.
France also responded by announcing broader surveillance measures in early January.
The number of Channel crossings was just a tiny fraction of the 55,756 successful attempts made across the Mediterranean to Spain that were recorded by the UN's refugee agency in 2018.