Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter, who was severely disfigured in a fire has undergone the world’s most extensive face transplant.
Mr Hardison’s face was badly burned in 2001 when he entered a burning building to search for a missing woman and the roof collapsed. The woman was later found fishing.
The face was donated by 26-year-old New York artist and competitive cyclist David Rodebaugh, who died of injuries suffered in a biking accident.
Mr Rodebaugh’s mother gave permission to use his face, telling the hospital that Rodebaugh always wanted to be a firefighter.
The team that performed the transplant was led by Doctor Eduardo Rodriguez, who said it’s the most extensive face transplant performed successfully in terms of the amount of tissue transferred.
Dr Rodriguez has previously performed face transplants on gun shot victims.
Speaking after the surgery Dr Rodriguez said: “Eventually, a casual observer will not notice anything that is odd.” Mr Hardison’s new face blends with the features of his original face.
Mr Hardison has spoken about how he struggled to cope with his severe disfigurement and became reliant on painkillers.
In an interview with New York Magazine, he explained:
Kids ran screaming and crying when they saw me. There are things worse than dying.
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.Advertisement
Mr Hardison will now undergo extensive physical therapy but is hoping to return home before the end of the year.