Face transplants, stem cells and immunosuppressive drugs.
Carmen's story is... amazing. She's an incredible woman and person to be making such great progress despite her ordeal. Despite the progress she's made, I feel the procedure has a very huge caveat: The lifetime required intake of immunosuppresive drugs.
The huge inconvenience aside, the costs of the drugs (close to $40K) a year and the health implications of a suppressed immune system and the greater risk for cancer, kidney diseases and such are a big deal and is the elephant in the room at the moment. Is it worth it? Definitely yes, the quality of her life has been drastically improved, she can talk and soon will be able to kiss and do so much more, but the point I want to make is she could've been able to do so much more than so much more if stem cell research was more advanced.
This is my point, if stem cell research was way ahead of where it is today, doctors might've been able to grow her a new face and there would be a significant reduction of the chance of tissue rejection. Now I may be speaking on things that are impossible as I do not have enough knowledge on stem cells, the research, controversy and funding, but popular culture has me believe that it is not being funded by government.
I simply think that a lot of heartache in the lady whose mother is the donor would've been avoided if the technology was available to simply grow a new face. I of course may be ignorant, and maybe stem cells cannot achieve that degree of specialization to grow a new face, but I want to encourage discusion and read your opinions.