News last year of a firefighter receiving an extensive face transplant involving 100 doctors took the internet by storm. The 27-hour procedure was indeed life changing, and 42-year-old Patrick Hardison marked completion of one year since the surgery with a speech at the New York University Langone Medical Center.
“I’m pretty much back to being a normal guy, doing normal activities,” he said at the news conference.
Ever since he underwent the procedure, Hardison has been homebound owing to his physical impairments and inability to perform various functions. His eyesight had been greatly impacted in the fire, thus hindering his movements. But as he took to the stage on Wednesday, dressed in a blue checkered shirt, the brave man looked extremely grateful for his life.
“My life is great right now. I’m happy, and my kids are all healthy, so what more could you ask for?”
Following the surgery, children on the streets or wherever Hardison went got scared of his face, which was completely disfigured. Now, he is recovering and the ex-firefighter is able to drive and go out freely in public without people staring at him.
“I am here today because I want others to see that there is hope beyond the injury. I am especially proud to share my story with other firefighters, first responders as well as U.S. military,” Hardison said.
He now looks forward to meeting the mother of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, whose family donated his face after he died when he fell off his bike.
Hardison’s progress has surprised and amazed his doctors.
“We have entered a new era in transplant surgery," said Eduardo D. Rodriguez, the surgeon who led Hardison’s team. "The work being done … is pushing the boundaries of medicine and surgery and opening up new avenues to restore the lives of people like Patrick. It’s a very exciting time,”