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Dumbshit Of The Universe Award
This week's honors go to the French face transplant recipient, who's using her new lips to unquit the habit. Yes, the woman has taken up smoking again, despite the increase in the risk of tissue rejection and the complications it poses in healing:

"It is a problem," Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard, who led the team that performed the pioneering transplant in France on Nov. 27, acknowledged on Wednesday.

The woman's French surgeons made their first scientific presentation on the partial face transplant at a medical conference here this week.

The news about her smoking came even as American surgeons said that they were growing more comfortable with the French doctors' decision to try the operation and that they hoped to offer such transplants to more patients.

The 38-year-old Frenchwoman received a new nose, chin and lips from a brain-dead donor after being mauled by her dog last spring. The woman has been identified only as Isabelle because of French privacy laws.

The woman suffered a tissue-rejection episode last month but is now doing well, her doctors said. However, they said she has resumed smoking, which besides being bad in general for health is especially a problem after surgery because it impairs circulation to tissues and could raise the risk of rejection.

Some doctors have questioned the woman's psychological fitness for the operation because of reports that she had taken sleeping pills in a possible suicide attempt when the dog attack occurred — an allegation Dubernard repeatedly has denied.

He said she received extensive psychiatric evaluation and counseling before the operation.

Sadly, it seems nobody checked to see if she had a brain.

P.S. And yes, honorable mention for Dumbshit Of The Universe goes to all smokers everywhere.

Posted by aalkon at January 20, 2006 7:37 AM

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P.S. And yes, honorable mention for Dumbshit Of The Universe goes to all smokers everywhere.

Maybe smokers aren't so dumb, Amy. In my experience, their habit comes with privileges.

I was in the drug store, buying a snack and a newspaper one day earlier this week. There were two people in line behind me. Then a "gentleman" dressed in business attire frantically begged her for a pack of Newports, so he could be rung up right away, because his bus was going to arrive at any minute.

To my utter amazement she actually stopped ringing up my order (all of two items) to get this rude, stupid bastard his hard-pack of Newports. I glared at her while she completed my order, then commented dryly as I left, "You know, I'm going to have to take up smoking. They get served ahead of everyone else."

Some time ago, I worked in a grocery store where my supervisor got more breaks than anyone else in the staff. Why? Because he "had to go smoke a cigarette."

How brazen! How utterly and unapologetically brazen. If I wanted to sneak away from the job for a few minutes, I'd say I'd have to go to the bathroom, or my stomach is queasy from something I ate. But I sure wouldn't forward the excuse that I need to indulge a habit I owe to my own stupidity.

One point I will always make when discussing this obnoxious habit is that no one ever lit up a cigarette for their first time in their lives and said, "Wow. This stuff is good." No, what they said was, "Call 911!" between hacks and wheezes. But they actually force themselves to tolerate it, even like it. Like everyone, they've heard every sermon on the dangers of smoking, how it causes cancer, is obnoxious and expensive. But they do it anyway. Why? Because it looks cool!

Give me a break!

It's a great racket, folks! Smoke your lungs out. You'll spend the last couple of years of your life on an iron lung, ringing up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, which get passed onto the rest of us in taxes and insurance premiums, but you can take extra breaks on the job, and get served ahead of everyone else in busy stores!

Posted by: Patrick at January 20, 2006 7:05 AM

She's French. Isn't it redundant to note that she's also a smoker?

Posted by: LYT at January 20, 2006 3:44 PM

Now, now...Emmanuelle doesn't smoke!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 20, 2006 5:41 PM

I smoked for 12 years. I've done all sort of illicit drugs, learning after a while to "just say no," but nothing was as hard as quitting smoking. If methamphetamine could be obtained as easily cigarettes are, Madam Transplant would probably be tweaking as we speak. Maybe this story isn't just about human stupidity.

Posted by: Lena at January 21, 2006 9:48 AM

I'm reminded of the South Park episode where the instructors at the museum of tolerance throw rocks at a smoker and call him 'tar lungs.'

Posted by: little Ted at January 21, 2006 2:40 PM

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