Maybe some of you, Indonesian, still remember the accident, which happened to a woman severely burned by her husband out of jealousy. The accident took place a couple of years ago in Jakarta. The news suddenly becomes major headlines in all media, printed and electronic. The public opinion is all stirred to sympathy towards the woman and curse for the husband. Because the woman, who used to be a very beautiful, after the accident became unrecognizable. The husband did his action based on his suspicion that his wife might have an affair with other man. So to prevent that from progressing even further, the husband took the precaution step by burning his wife, alive. Luckily the woman managed to escape and sought help although she had burn wound.
Although her wound could be well treated, still her face won’t be the same again. There would be major changes in her face and skin. This phenomenon intriguing some psychologist when they began to question whether the patient was mentally stable enough to handle the stressful, high-risk procedure. People around her might not be able to recognize her again.
Experts have begun to discuss how any analyst could fully know if an individual were “ready” for such a novel procedure. Some psychological readiness criteria exist for patients who seek elective plastic surgery, but there is little literature about the mental
attributes that make someone a good candidate for reconstructive surgery, much less a highly visible transplant.
Critic of the operation say that in addition to needing the mettle to follow post surgical procedures and stick with anti-tissue-rejection medication and side effects, the woman will have to withstand intense public scrutiny, and they wonder if she is up to it. But Elaine Walker, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Emory University, notes the patient’s perspective, “the stresses may not trump the stress of living with the original disfigurement.”
Walker points out that the patient essentially had to choose between three psychologically challenging options: live with a terrible disfigurement that would very likely instill in her significant social anxiety, attempt a protracted series of reconstructive surgeries that doctors said might not succeed, or undergo the risky face transplant. “None of the alternatives would be free of psychological stress,” observes.
In the end, life is full of options. For each option, there would be consequences regardless the stress that would come along. And the patient, like every human being must choose one with consequences he/she can handle best.