Charlotte Ponce was 3-months old when she was attacked by a pet raccoon while laying in her crib. The raccoon destroyed her right ear, nose and part of her cheek.
The children were taken into protective custody after the accident.
Her great-aunt and uncle, Sharon and Tim Ponce from Spring Lake, Michigan heard the horrific news on the TV news and stepped in to adopt Charlotte and her older brother Marshall.
The court process took years and the children were adopted at 3 and 4.
Charlotte and her brother do not have a relationship with their biological parents today, Sharon Ponce told WHAS11. “We were willing to accept them and they could be an aunt and uncle, but they don’t accept that,” she said. “It’s hard for the kids –- they were their parents.”
As a result of the raccoon attack, Charlotte initially had a feeding tube. She also has emotional problems and some learning disabilities.
“The raccoon pretty much ate the right side of her face, all the way back to the ear,” said Sharon Ponce, 54. “Her right side is totally scarred and she’s had three surgeries to remove some of it almost two years ago.”
Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate, a Beaumont plastic surgeon, will perform a 6-to-7-hour procedure on Charlotte so she can receive a new ear.
“As a plastic surgeon you need to think outside the box a little bit,” Chaiyasate said.
Chaiyasate says he will take a piece of Charlotte’s cartilage from her ribs and using a computer-generated template based on the 11-year-old’s other ear, carve it into the shape of her ear. Then he will implant the structure under the skin of her forearm and in the next 8 weeks the skin will mold to the shape of her ear.
In June, Chaiyasate will transplant the ear to the right side of her head.
Previously, Charlotte had a prosthetic ear put in by a doctor at another hospital and it got infected,” hospital spokesman Mark Geary said. “She had a hole where the ear was, but she can still hear and now she will have an actual normal-looking ear.”
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