Andy lost his face after a horrible incident. Now, 60 doctors have given him a new one.

Andy Sandness looked in the mirror after a 56-hour surgery and wrote four words in a notebook.

“Far exceeded my expectations,” he said.

He handed the message to Dr. Samir Mardini who had just given Sandness a face transplant and subsequently, a new lease on life.

In a new video released by the Maya Clinic in Minnisotta, USA, the clinic tells the story how Sandness became their first face transplant patient and the events that led to the marathon-like surgery.

10 years ago, when Sandness was just 21-year-old, he found himself looking the barrel of a gun in an attempt to take his own life. He pulled the trigger, but managed to survive. It was, by his friends’ own admission, “a miracle that he survived”.

When Sandness woke up, he was without a nose, much of his jaw and his mouth was the size of a small coin. His doctor, Dr. Samir Mardini, did “everything [he] could to restore his face to an acceptable level”.


In other words, Sandness could work and could live, but his the extent of his injuries meant the smallest of things were made difficult. His injuries affected how he breathed, he struggled with the simple task of eating.

"I made the wrong choice," Sandness admits in the video, referencing his attempt at taking his own life. But the nature of his survival meant social interactions had been a challenge and dating nearly impossible. He would avoid eye contact with young children for fear he would scare them.

And then, 10 years later and by the most tragic twist of fate, Sandness received a phone call. He was ready for a face transplant. But it meant someone else had died first.

That someone was Calen “Rudy” Ross, a 21-year-old who had taken his own life some 500 miles from where Sadness attempted the same thing 10 years earlier.

In June 2016, Dr. Mardini and an army of 60 performed the Mayo clinic's first every face transplant.

"Once you lose something that you’ve had forever, you know what it’s like not to have it," Sandness said, according to Metro.

"And once you get a second chance to have it back, you never forget it."

Organ donation recipient Megan talks about her life and how thankful she is for those who donated: