Katie Stubblefield was just 18 when she put the barrel of her brother's.308-caliber hunting rifle below her chin and pulled the trigger.
The youngest face transplant patient in the US, now 22, has emerged in a documentary four years after she attempted suicide by firing a high-powered rifle under her chin, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
The improbable medical saga began on March 25, 2014, when Stubblefield was distraught enough to attempt suicide.
She had 22 surgeries to reconstruct her face before the transplant. But with permission from the woman's mother, doctors moved forward anyway, removing bones from the donor's face to replace the ones that Katie had lost in her suicide attempt.
Specialists at the Cleveland Clinic transplanted the scalp, forehead, eyelids and nose as well as parts of her cheeks, jaw, muscle, teeth and more, the hospital explained in a report, "effectively replacing 100 percent of the patient's facial tissue".
Ms Schneider had a hard life, born with drugs in her system to a drug addicted mother who died when she was only 13-years-old.
Katie also continues physical and occupational therapy, works with a speech therapist and takes Braille lessons. "I felt awful", she adds.
She said she was shocked: "I never thought of doing that ever before, and so on hearing about it, I just didn't know how to handle it".
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Katie and her parents have been living at Cleveland's Ronald McDonald House for the last four years, the longest residents in the facility's history.
Currently, face transplants are seen as experimental treatments and are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies.
The surgery was performed at the Cleveland Clinic in OH in May and paid for by the US Department of Defence through the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine. "She's in that late-teen to early 20s, where so many young soldiers are being wounded and injured".
Katie's new face was donated by the family of Adrea Schneider, a 31-year-old mother-of-one who who died as the result of a drug overdose. She is the 40th person in the world known to have received a new face.
Stubblefield now hopes to go to college and study counseling, to teach teenagers the value of life. "Her brain was basically exposed, and I mean, we're talking seizures and infections and all kinds of problems".
After being told about the possible solution, Katie Stubblefield said she was just as amazed. "Then, she can do all that and become a spokeswoman for so many aspects - for how to be strong in the face of adversity and not to make a singular decision dictate who you are".
He said Katie "had the ultimate second chance".
In 2016, guns were the most common method used in suicide deaths in the USA, accounting for 22,963 - nearly half of all - suicide deaths, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
"I'm definitely taking many, many daily steps". They are warriors. They're like eagles who are protecting a young bird.