41-year-old volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison suffered severe burns on his entire face when stepped into a raging home fire in Senatobia, Mississippi in 2001. He survived, but his face was so disfigured that his own children were initially terrified to look at their dad.
All that has now changed, as Hardison is the receiver of the world’s most extensive face transplant , New York University Langone Medical Center said on Monday.
The surgery took 26 hours, and transferred the face of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh from Brooklyn, who was pronounced brain dead after a BMX extreme bicycling accident.
According to a report on Reuters.com, Hardison received a full scalp and face, including a new nose, ears, lips and eyelids.
Doctors say that Hardison can now blink and even sleep with his eyes closed, something that is key in ensuring he doesn’t go blind, said Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, the plastic surgeon who led the 150-person medical team that performed the procedure.
The surgery cost around $1 million, a bill that NYU will cover. The university took the case after a friend in firefighting reached out to the public, for Harding.
The cyclist’s mother has approved of the continued life of her deceased son’s face. David, her son, was born after she’d been told that she would never have children.
According to an entry in Wikipedia, the world’s first partial face transplant on a living human was carried out in France in 2005, with the first full face transplant being performed in Spain in 2010.
Hardison thanked Patrick’s family in a statement saying, “I hope they see in me the goodness of their decision.”
Patrick and his family are very happy and thankful for the miraculous medical work.