A few months later, she and her boyfriend broke up.
"I had never thought of doing that before", Ms Stubblefield said of her attempt to kill herself. In 2008, American woman Connie Culp became the first United States recipient of a face transplant at the same clinic.
When discussing National Geographic magazine's report on Stubblefield, the publication's editor-in-chief, Susan Goldberg, said that Stubblefield's story will help to save many lives.
Her story has been told in a new National Geographic documentary and its Story of a Face magazine cover story following the historic procedure a year ago.
Katie Stubblefield at Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, Ohio.
She lost part of her forehead, nose, most of her mouth, her jaw and her eyes were badly damaged.
They declared her stable by the start of 2016.
Left: Stubblefield family photo. At right, Katie at 22, one year and one month after her surgery.
A suicide-attempt survivor is getting a second chance after receiving a historic face transplant. She is the 40th person in the world known to have received a new face.
He said: "Her brain was basically exposed, and I mean, we're talking seizures and infections and all kinds of problems".
"We made a plate designed for the combination of Katie and her sister's jaw, and that's what we used to make Katie's jaw before we did the transplant", Gastman said.
Gastman said that in his 27 years of training and practice this was one of the worst face traumas he'd ever seen.
Stubblefield is using her story of survival to raise awareness.
She hopes to speak to teenagers about suicide prevention, echoing what she told CNN: "Life is precious, and life is attractive". They took Katie to eat at restaurants despite the looks and comments she'd receive, spent time with her outside and celebrated her birthday.
"So many people have helped me; now I want to help other people", she told National Geographic.
"I felt so guilty that I had put my family through such pain".
In 2017, it was decided that Stubblefield would undergo a face transplant. Doctors found a match for the face transplant, 31-year-old Adrea Schneider, who died from a drug overdose.
Ms Stubblefield waited for a transplant for over a year, before a matching donor was found.
Now 22, Stubblefield admits that when she was first told about a face transplant, she had no idea the procedure even existed. "Further, on the other hand, how much a singular rash decision made by so many young people today could negatively change your whole life". "This surgery can give her back the self-esteem and confidence she lost". The only problem? This posed a greater risk of Katie's body rejecting the new face.
But she intends to pick up where she left off, she told National Geographic, going to college and perhaps pursuing a career in counseling. And now Katie has a mission in her life.
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