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