Monday, 16 November 2015

Ex-firefighter undergoes 'most extensive' face transplant after suffering horrific burns

A former volunteer firefighter has received what has been described as the “most extensive” facial transplant ever.

Patrick Hardison's face was severely burned in 2001 as he and his colleagues fought to save a woman they believed was trapped inside a mobile home but had actually gone fishing.

In August Dr Eduardo Rodriguez performed the transplant over 26 hours giving the 41-year-old the face of David Rodebaugh.

The 26-year-old bike mechanic from New York lost his life after being declared brain dead after a cycling accident this summer.

Speaking about his new look Patrick, who has undergone 70 surgeries to recreate his face, spoke to the New York Magazine about his struggles to deal with the impact of his life-changing injury.

"Kids ran screaming and crying when they saw me. There are things worse than dying", he said.
"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.”

Three months on from the transplant operation Patrick, from Sanatoria, Mississippi, says of his new face “It’s mine”.

Dr Rodriguez first promised Patrick he would “make him normal” when they met in 2012.
The surgeon set about finding a suitable donor but twice suffered false alarms.

Then on August 12, Dr Rodriguez told Patrick he had found the most promising potential match yet.
“I have a feeling about this one,” he said.

The ground-breaking transplant, performed at NYU Langone Medical Centre, had only a 50% chance of success with Dr Rodriguez saying it was the “most extensive ever performed” and would be a case of live or die.

“You have to understand: If it were to fail, there is no bailout option,” Dr Rodriguez told Patrick.
“You would likely die. This is a procedure that is all or none.”

Of the 30 people who have had face transplants, up to five have died from rejection.

Doctors say Patrick’s recovery is going well and though he still has considerable pain through his cheeks and forehead and always will.

He will also have to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life, and Dr Rodriguez has warned "there will be a rejection - not if but when".

Speaking of his future Patrick said: “I can live with the pain.”


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