Connie Culp, the first U.S. recipient of a near-total face transplant back in 2008, died last week at the age of 57. Medical ethicist Art Caplan spoke with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday about her legacy.

"She had had a terrible weapon's injury — her husband shot her in the face — and just at that time, face transplants were starting to appear, so she got one," Caplan said. "It apparently really worked for her, she lasted 10 years. And that's a good run for a face transplant."

The human body tries to reject the new face tissue after a face transplant is performed, Caplan noted. "It does remind us that if you take a face transplant, you're going to be shortening your life, because when it fails, that's probably going to be it."

Art Caplan is the Drs. William F and Virginia Connolly Mitty Chair, and director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.