Trans­plant pi­o­neer’s de­light at be­ing ‘a nor­mal guy’ af­ter op

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY CHRISTO­PHER BUCKTIN US Edi­tor chris.bucktin@mir­ror.co.uk

A FOR­MER fire­fighter who un­der­went the world’s most ex­ten­sive fa­cial trans­plant in­sists: “It has never felt so good to be ig­nored.”

Pa­trick Hardi­son, who suf­fered hor­rific burns at­tend­ing a blaze in 2001, has en­dured con­stant stares from strangers and even fear from his chil­dren.

But a year on from his pi­o­neer­ing op­er­a­tion, the fa­ther of five says: “Now I’m just the av­er­age guy walk­ing down the street. Peo­ple look at me and can tell some­thing has hap­pened but they would never think that I’d had a face trans­plant.”

Pa­trick, 42, from Se­na­to­bia, Mis­sis­sippi, has be­gun driv­ing again and re­cently took a hol­i­day with his fam­ily to Dis­ney World in Florida, where he was able to swim in the pool for the first time in 15 years. He added: “I’m just a nor­mal dad. Now, they don’t touch my face and say, ‘Oh, my God’. They don’t think about it.”

Last Au­gust, Pa­trick was given the face of David Rode­baugh, 26, a me­chanic from New York who died in a cy­cling ac­ci­dent.

Dr Ed­uardo Ro­driguez per­formed the pro­ce­dure at the NYU Lan­gone Med­i­cal Cen­ter in New York over 26 hours with a team of more than 100 medics.

He said: “We are amazed at Pat’s re­cov­ery, which sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions.”

The sur­geon pointed to three sig­nif­i­cant mile­stones: the ab­sence of a re­jec­tion episode, the nor­mal func­tion of the new eye­lids, and the ex­e­cu­tion and achieve­ment of the “most ex­ten­sive” soft tis­sue clin­i­cal face trans­plant in his­tory.

Dr Ro­driquez said this will give hope to hun­dreds who have sim­i­lar in­juries.

Fire in 2001 left Pa­trick dis­fig­ured

FIREMAN Pat

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