Firefighter who received a full face transplant adjusting to 'new normal'

Firefighter who received a full face transplant adjusting to 'new normal'
Published: 2016 August 25 09:25:33 (8550 Views)
For 14 years firefighter Patrick Hardison had to deal with stares from strangers and fear from his own children after he was injured in a mobile home fire.

But a year ago he was given a new lease of life after receiving a full-face transplant during a 26-hour procedure in New York.

Now, Hardison says he no longer has to endure the daily humiliation he suffered, telling CBS: 'Now I'm just the average guy walking down the street.'

He added: 'People - they can look at me and tell something's happened, but they would never look at me and think that I’d had a face transplant.

Asked if it has ever felt so good to be ignored, he replied: 'No, sir. No it hasn't.'

Hardison was 27 when, back in September 2001, he attended the house fire that was to change his life forever.

Hardison entered the home and began the search, but then the ceiling collapsed on him, trapping him inside.

The heat caused his protective mask to melt on to his face, with no way to extinguish the flames since his hose had already disintegrated.

Hardison said he pulled the mask off, closed his eyes and held his breath, and ran toward the exit.



Surgeons would later praise his actions, saying he managed to save most of his eyesight and avoided scarring his lungs and throat with smoke.

A church friend of Hardison's wrote to Dr Rodriguez, who had performed a 2012 face transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The doctor said he would try to help, and in August 2014 Hardison was placed on a waiting list.

He needed a donor who matched his skin colour, hair colour and blood type, as well as skeletal structure.

That donor eventually emerged as 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, a Brooklyn native who died in a bicycle accident last year.

When medical staff approached Rodebaugh's mother and discussed donating his face, she agreed, saying he had always wanted to be a firefighter.

Now, 12 months on, Hardison's body has adjusted to having the facial tissue attached, and has not rejected the transplant.

While there are still many more hurdles left to conquer, for the time being Hardison is getting back to the life he lost out on for 14 long years.

He said: 'Normal has become a reality over the year. Normal was something I never thought I’d see again.' 



Source - Dailymail

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