A suburban Detroit girl whose face was mauled by a raccoon more than a decade ago has undergone another reconstructive procedure, the latest of more than a dozen since the incident.
Charlotte Ponce, now 14, was 3 months old when a pet raccoon sneaked into her crib and mauled her face, from her nose to her right ear.
“It’s a miracle she survived,” said Sharon Ponce, Charlotte’s mother.
Ponce and her husband Timothy gained custody of Charlotte and her older brother soon after the raccoon incident. The biological parents’ rights were terminated.
Charlotte was back at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak on Thursday to add extra tissue to her ear, cheek, nose, and upper lip.
The surgery was her first as a teenager and her eighth with pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate, the Detroit Free Pressreported. He says Charlotte hopes to get her ears pierced after healing from surgery.
In the past, Dr. Chaiyasate built Charlotte a new nose by using skin from elsewhere on her body and rib cartilage. Her upper lip was reconstructed.
“She’s a fighter,” the surgeon said. “She’s never cried. With every surgery, she’s never complained.”
For the surgery Thursday, Dr. Chaiyasate used tissue from the teen’s stomach and put it behind her right ear to make it more projected. Stomach tissue was also added to her upper lip to give it more fullness.
“I’m used to it by now,” she said the night before the procedure. “I’ve been having surgeries since I was about 3 months old.”
The doctor said the transformation is more than physical and Charlotte has become more outgoing with him as time passes.
Through a Facebook page called “Friends of Charlotte Rose” that details the teen’s journey, Charlotte’s mother said her daughter has inspired people she hasn’t even met.
“She’s gotten all kinds of letters,” Sharon Ponce said. “People said they look at the courage she has, and it gives them courage.”