Kip Fonsh: Feeling like an exile at home

  • CORRECTS LAST NAME TO VLASSAKOV - In this July 28, 2020, photo released by Brigham and Women's Hospital, members of the transplant anesthesiology team, Drs. Kamen V. Vlassakov front, and Lindsay Wahl lead Carmen Blandin Tarleton to the operating room for her second face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Tarleton, who had her first face transplant in 2013, became the first American and only the second person globally to undergo a second face transplant procedure... J. Kiely Jr./Lightchaser Photography

Published: 10/9/2020 11:52:00 AM


Last March I almost died during surgery. I did not die due to the dedication, skills and expertise of the team which operated on me. I was not lucky. I was and am privileged. Despite that privilege, I feel increasingly like an exile in my own country.

No, I am not a refugee, migrant or fleeing dictatorship. I do not recognize the country that I have grown up in. Not one branch of government, not one, deserves my allegiance because it simply doesn’t care about all of us, but the well-to-do, the 1%. Over 200,000 of my fellow citizens have died needlessly because we have been abandoned by our leaders. I did not die, but again, I am privileged. I am white, middle class, I have medical insurance and money in the bank. And I know how to navigate the system.

But, like millions of Americans, I sit in exile in my home waiting to die because someone who should know better has turned his back on us. His cruel, corrupt and ignorant behavior negates privilege, negates our humanity and violates his oath of office and pledge to the American people. How dare he? How dare we to allow this to continue to be?

Kip Fonsh


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