Now, thanks to a novel procedure performed at an Army medical center in Texas, Burrage is getting that ear back in a most unusual way.
Private Shamika Burrage, 21, from MS, lost her ear in 2016 when a tire blew out in a auto she was traveling in, causing the vehicle to veer off the road and flip several times. That's when doctors gave her a shocking proposal: to grow a new ear in her forearm and then transplant it. In 2016, she was returning to Fort Bliss after visiting family in MS when a tire blowout changed her life forever. She suffered head injuries, compression fractures in the spine, road rash and the total loss of her left ear. A statement from the Army explained that if she had received medical assistance even half an hour later than she did, she would have bled to death.
After several months of rehabilitation, Burrage informed formed doctors that she was uncomfortable about how her injuries affected her appearance, so she was referred to plastic surgeons at WBAMC, who offered her the option of total ear reconstruction. While she was initially scared about going through with the reconstruction, she said she wanted to see what doctors could do.
She still has two more surgeries to go, but Burrage said she feels more optimistic about her future than ever.
"As a young active-duty Soldier, they deserve the best reconstruction they can get", he said. But since she was treated in time, Shamika is now recovering - and that includes growing her very own ear from inside her forearm.
"I was on the ground, I just looked up and (her cousin) was right there", Burrage said.
Two years ago, Army Private Shamika Burrage nearly died when she was ejected from her vehicle during a crash in Texas.
'It's been a long process for everything but I'm back, ' said Burrage.
Burrage is scheduled to have two more surgeries in what is believed to be the first such case in the military branch. She had lost her ear and a lot of blood.
The ear has since been attached after Johnson reopened Burrage's ear canal, which had closed up due to the accident.