Firefighter Who Lost His Face In Fire Undergoes Revolutionary Face Transplant

Meet Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter, who lost his face 14 years ago in a fire and today he has received the first successful total face transplant ever.

Patrick’s face was severely burned while battling a house fire back in 2001. During the fire, his mask melted to his face. As result, he spent 63 days in hospital. He survived but he had lost his ears, lips, nose and nearly all his eyelid tissue.

When he returned home, he was unrecognizable to his three young children, who were frightened and cried when they saw his face. He says for him the experience was worse than dying. He underwent multiple reconstruction surgeries over the years, and then in 2014, Patrick met with Dr. Rodriguez of NYU Langone Medical Center. The surgeon had performed face transplants before, but Patrick’s would be the most extensive transplant ever performed.

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Patrick Hardison before and after face transplant surgery. Photo credit: NYU Langone Medical Center

They needed to find a donor and they found a match with David Rodebaugh, a young BMX rider who became brain dead after an accident. LiveOn NY approached the Rodenbaugh family, and thanks to their generosity, Patrick had found his donor.

Patrick decided to go through with the risky surgery, even though doctors warned him that there was only a 50/50 chance of surviving. David pulled through the 26 hour surgery, which was performed back in August. Three months later, Patrick is still getting used to his new face, but he was finally ready to meet his family. The before and after are astounding!

It’s a remarkable story both for Patrick’s bravery and what has been achieved medically.

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