Firefighter Receives ‘Most Extensive’ Face Transplant Ever
A volunteer firefighter, who suffered a full face and scalp burn in a tragic fire more than a decade ago, has received a new chance for his life to return to normal. Patrick Hardison, 41, was injured during a search and rescue in September 2001 when a roof collapsed inside a burning home in Mississippi.
“He lost his eyelids, ears, lips, and most of his nose, as well as his hair, including his eyebrows,” a member of the New York Langone Medical Center said. On August 14, more than 100 doctors, nurses, and medical staff at the medical center performed the “most extensive face transplant to date” on Hardison. The surgery, which reportedly lasted 26 hours, “provided for the transplantation of a donor’s eyelids and ‘blinking mechanisms,’” USA Today reported. Without this, Hardison risked permanently losing his eyesight. The Associated Press spoke to Dr. Amir Dorafshar, co-director of the face transplant program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the operation, who said, “[It’s] a historic achievement. This type of treatment option will potentially revolutionize the care of patients with severe facial burn injuries.” The donor was a 26-year-old New York artist and competitive BMX biker named David Rodebaugh. Rodebaugh died in a biking accident in Brooklyn, New York. Three days after the transplant, doctors said Hardison was able to blink on his own. And now, three months later, Hardison is “returning to the routines of daily life independently,” the medical center said. For Hardison, life is finally beginning to feel normal again. “I used to get stared at all the time, but now I’m just an average guy,” he told the AP.