A volunteer firefighter, Patrick Hardison, severely burned and disfigured in a terrible housefire, has gone through the world’s most extensive face transplant yet. Hardison’s face was severely burned back in 2001 after he entered a building on fire to look for a woman who was missing when the roof collapsed. The woman turned out not to even be the house.
Hardison’s face was so badly burnt, he pretty much lost his entire face. But, after years of struggle, doctors have given him a face transplant which might well have kickstarted his life. The procedure was a success, but the face still needs time to settle.
The face itself was donated by a 26 year-old New Yorker called David Rodebaugh, an artist and professional cyclist who died in a biking accident. According to his family, he had always wanted to be a firefighter.
Transplants of this type had been performed before, but never to this extent. The new face may look odd now, but doctors expected that, in a year, it should appear more ‘normal’.
The face transplant was, thankfully, a success. Thanks, mostly, to Doctor Rodriguez – a specialist in the field of face transplants and has previously performed face transplants on those shot in the face. Speaking after the successful surgical procedure, Dr Rodriguez said:
“Eventually, a casual observer will not notice anything that is odd.”
In an interview with New York Magazine, he explained:
“Kids ran screaming and crying when they saw me. There are things worse than dying. I thought for years that I would die the way I was after I got injured. I never thought I would be sitting here today after a face transplant.”
Mr Hardison is now due to undergo intensive and extensive physical therapy. He’s expected to return home before the end of the year and make a full recovery. And we wish him all the best. The man’s a hero and he and his family deserve it.