With today’s understanding, professionals can even modify a person’s complete face for those in need. Face transplants have been undertaken since Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to have one in 2005. Another extremely rare face transplant was conducted in the United States in 2015, when Patrick Hardison became the first American to undergo the surgery.
Patrick, like any other caring parent, attended his children’s athletic events and enjoyed spending time with his family. The volunteer fireman was constantly looking for ways to aid his neighbourhood.
But on one fateful day in 2001, his and his family’s life would be permanently altered.
Patrick was summoned to a home fire and suffered severe face burns to his upper chest, head, and neck. The fire also consumed his ears, lips, the majority of his eyelid tissue, and the majority of his nose.
He appeared doomed to a life of kids fleeing away from him and other parents muttering and pointing. However, the most thorough face transplant ever undertaken became a reality in 2015.
Patrick Hardison of Mississippi formerly served as a volunteer fireman. He was responding to a home fire in 2001 when a terrible catastrophe occurred.
When a flaming house fell on top of Hardison, he was inside.
Patrick was able to escape through a window, but his head and upper torso were already on fire, and he sustained horrible burns.
Third-degree burns covered the dad’s whole face and head. He also had face burns to his head, neck, and upper torso. The fire also consumed his ears, lips, the majority of his nose, and even the majority of his eyelid tissue.
Hardison was about to embark on a new chapter in his life. He had 71 surgeries and other operations, yet he couldn’t make regular facial expressions. Patrick couldn’t eat or laugh or even blink or close his eyes without experiencing pain.
Surgeons were finally able to stitch skin flaps together to safeguard his vision. Yet, he was in danger of turning blind gradually.
Patrick struggled to embrace his look as time passed. Being around his kids – or even by himself – had turned into a nightmare. The youngsters were terrified as others pointed at him.
Patrick always wore a baseball cap and sunglasses, as well as specially made ear prostheses.
Patrick had to deal with agony and stares from others while going down the street for years. He had given up hope of ever leading a normal life, believing that his damaged look was a burden he would have to bear for the rest of his life.
However, as time passed, doctors found new techniques for face transplants. Eventually, Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to get a face transplant in 2005. Hardison, on the other hand, had given up hope of ever receiving the assistance he so sorely required.
Then, one day, a buddy ran across Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, who works at New York University Langone Medical Center. Rodriquez had already conducted a face transplant, thus the quest for a donor for Patrick started.
Hardison’s year-long search has yielded just two possible donors. The first one was close, however the tissue profile was not.
The second choice appeared to be the most promising. The man’s family, though, pulled him from consideration.
Hardison was ready to embrace the possibility that he might never have a face transplant. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, another possible donor emerged. LiveOnNY, a New York-based group that facilitates organ donation, has identified a match. The face belonged to David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old man who had been identified as brain dead after suffering a catastrophic head trauma in a biking accident.
Nancy Millar, David’s mom, elected to give her son’s organs when he died, including his liver, heart, and kidneys. More importantly, she opted to give his face as well.
She didn’t think twice when she learned about Patrick and the potential of a face transplant. It was an opportunity for David to live on for her.
Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez gathered a team of 100 doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to prepare for Hardison’s surgery. The procedure took a stunning 26 hours and was the most thorough soft tissue face transplant ever conducted.
Hardison was given a new face, scalp, ears, and ear canals by the medical team. They took bone fragments from the chin, cheeks, and complete nose. Not only that, however Patrick obtained new eyelids, restoring his natural blinking ability.
The procedure, however, was not without risk. Patrick had a 50/50 chance of survival due to the exceedingly intricate nature of the treatment.
Patrick saw his family for what may have been the last time before surgery.
Alison, his eldest daughter, was perplexed as to why her dad was so determined to complete the treatment.
Thankfully, the treatment was a huge success, however it was only the beginning of a long road for Patrick. During the first week after the procedure, he experienced late-night scares caused by blood pressure changes and an unstable airway.
Due to his new face, he had to relearn how to talk and swallow, and he suffered from both anxiety and frustration as a result. Since his face was so bloated, he couldn’t even close his mouth.
Despite this, the procedure changed my life. Patrick not only got to see his family again, as well as got to meet David Rodebaugh’s mom, Nancy Millar. Their first meeting following the procedure was emotional, and Nancy had just one wish.
Patrick’s face transplant surgery took place seven years ago. His life has altered dramatically since then; he and Chrissi split a year after the operation, after 10 years of marriage.
Hardison’s face has recovered beautifully, and the swelling has subsided. Though he must take anti-rejection medicines for the rest of his life to prevent his body’s immune system from rejecting the transplanted organ, it has given him a second shot at life.
Today, the father-of-five hopes to utilise his ordeal and recuperation to share the message that it is never too late to try again. Patrick represents hope and a willingness to assist those suffering from terrible disabilities.
Patrick Hardison’s healing is a miracle, and we are very grateful to Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez and his colleagues. You are the true heros!