The firefighter’s face transplant after severe burn

Patrick Hardison was severely injured in a house fire while attempting to save a woman he thought was trapped inside.

This brave man was left with third-degree burns all over his face and head, and he had to hide behind a baseball cap, sunglasses, and prosthetic ears for years.

Patrick recalls youngsters fleeing when they saw him, but his life was turned upside down in 2015 when he underwent the world’s largest face transplant.

According to sources, Hardison had a 50/50 chance of surviving the face transplant. The surgery, however, was a success, even though it took 26 hours and more than 100 individuals working in two teams. Patrick Hardison is now enjoying life with his lovely wife and children.

Here’s all you need to know about Patrick’s extraordinary journey – and what he looks like now.

Patrick Hardison
Youtube/ABC News

We now have a wealth of information on the human body. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, and others in the medical industry are true heroes who go above and beyond to help people get better. Furthermore, it’s amazing what can be done these days to save a life. Take surgeons who can replace a heart or a kidney, for example.

Patrick Hardison has undergone a face transplant.

With today’s understanding, it’s even conceivable to modify a person’s complete face for those in need. Face transplants have been done since Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to have one in 2005. Patrick Hardison became the first American to undergo a particularly unusual face transplant in 2015 when he became the first American to do so.

Like any other caring father, Patrick enjoyed attending his children’s athletic events and spending time with his family. The volunteer firefighter was always looking for ways to assist his community in any way he could.

But on that fateful day in 2001, his and his family’s lives would be forever changed.

After being called to a house fire, Patrick received significant face burns to his upper chest, head, and neck. His ears, lips, most of his eyelid tissue, and much of his nose were also consumed by the fire.

It seems as if he was doomed to a life of children fleeing him and other parents muttering and pointing at him. However, in 2015, the world’s largest face transplant became a reality.

Because of the procedure’s complexity, Patrick only had a 50/50 chance of surviving it. He now has a completely different appearance, and he looks amazing. Here’s all you need to know about Patrick Hardison’s incredible journey.

Patrick Hardison
Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Patrick Hardison, a Mississippi native, previously served as a volunteer firefighter. In 2001, he responded to a house fire when he was involved in a terrible accident.

A house fire resulted in disfiguring injuries.

When a blazing house collapsed on top of Hardison, he was trapped within.

Hardison explained, “[My mask] was melting to my face.” “My hose was already melted,” says the narrator.

He could flee through a window, but his head and upper torso were already on fire, and Patrick was badly hurt.

After viewing Hardison after the accident, friend and first responder Jimmy Neal remarked, “For someone who does what we do for a job, I’ve never seen anybody burned that terribly and still alive.”

The father’s entire face and head were covered with third-degree burns. He also suffered facial burns on his head, neck, and upper chest. His ears, lips, most of his nose, and even much of his eyelid tissue were all consumed by the fire.

“I didn’t see myself until November, at the earliest.” Hardison told Fox News, “I got hurt in September.” “They had cut a tiny pinhole in one of my eyelids since they had covered everything with a skin graft.” When I glanced in the mirror, I could think, ‘Is this it?’ ‘I’m sorry, but I’m not up to it,’ he recalled.

Hardison was about to start a new life. He had 71 operations and various other procedures, but he still couldn’t make regular facial expressions. Patrick couldn’t eat or laugh without being in pain, and he couldn’t even blink or close his eyes without being in pain.

Patrick Hardison
Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Eventually, surgeons were able to stitch together skin flaps to safeguard his vision. Still, he was in danger of going blind slowly but steadily.

Patrick struggled to accept his appearance as the years passed. Being alone with his children – or even with his children – became a nightmare. The children were terrified as people pointed at him.

I’ve given up on leading a normal life.

Patrick donned a baseball cap and sunglasses all the time and custom-made prostheses to replace his ears.

“I had a family.” It was just a difficult period. I was never given a day off because of the injury. It was every day when you went out in public. And, you know, there’s simply no way to explain everything,” he explained.

“When you go to the ballpark, you have to be ready for the youngster who runs away screaming.”

Patrick had been dealing with discomfort and stares from strangers for years as he walked down the street. He was losing hope of ever leading a normal life, and he began to believe that his damaged appearance was something he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

However, as time passed, surgeons perfected new techniques for face replacements. Finally, Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to have a face transplant in 2005. On the other hand, Hardison had given up hope of ever receiving the assistance he so sorely needed.

Patrick Hardison
Youtube/Inside Edition

Dr Eduardo D. Rodriguez, who worked at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, was discovered by a friend. Rodriquez had already performed a face transplant. Thus the quest for a donor for Patrick began.

Hardison’s search has yielded only two potential donors after a year. The first one was close, but the tissue profile wasn’t.

David Rodebaugh – face donor Patrick Hardison

The second applicant appeared to be a strong contender. However, the man’s family declined to consider him.

Hardison was prepared himself to accept the possibility that he would never receive a face transplant. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, another potential donor surfaced. LiveOnNY had located a match, a non-profit that arranges organ donations in the New York area. The face belonged to David Rodebaugh; a 26-year-old declared brain dead after suffering a catastrophic head injury in a biking accident.

Nancy Millar, David’s mother, elected to give her son’s organs when he died, including his liver, heart, and kidneys. More importantly, she chose to donate his face as well.

“‘You better spare his face,’ I urged. He has a porcelain doll’s face.’ Millar told People, “And he’s a donor – we’d talked about it.”

When she learned about Patrick and the possibility of a face transplant, she didn’t hesitate. It was an opportunity for David to live on for her.

David Rodebaugh
Youtube/Inside Edition

She added, “When I saw Patrick, I noticed this strength, this big, manly, burly kind of energy in him that David possessed.”

“David aspired to be a firefighter, and I knew that if this guy was a firefighter — if he was willing to step into a fire to save people at the risk of his own life — he had David’s strength.”

Dr Eduardo D. Rodriguez gathered his 100-strong team of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to prepare for Hardison’s surgery. The procedure took 26 hours, making it a complete soft tissue face transplant.

Surviving the procedure has a 50/50 likelihood of success.

The medical team replaced Hardison’s face, scalp, ears, and ear canals. They took bone fragments from the chin, cheeks, and complete nose. Not only that but Patrick’s eyelids were replaced, restoring his ability to blink naturally.

The surgery, however, was not without risk. Patrick had a 50/50 probability of surviving the exceedingly complex treatment due to its nature.

Hardison told Time Magazine, “Everything in life has a risk.”

“Whether you’re walking down the street and get struck by a car or lying on the operating table when it’s your time to go, you’ll go.”

Patrick met his family for what may have been the last time before the surgery.

Patrick Hardison
Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Alison, his eldest daughter, was perplexed as to why her father was so adamant about completing the treatment.

“He replied, ‘I’m not going to have to wear a ball cap or my sunglasses.’ ‘When I get to lead you down the aisle, I’ll look normal,’ Alison remembers Patrick saying.

“And that pretty much sealed the deal for me.”

Fortunately, the procedure went off without a hitch. However, it was only the beginning of Patrick’s lengthy trip. He had late-night concerns with blood pressure changes and an unstable airway during the first week after the operation.

Because of his new appearance, he had to relearn how to speak and swallow, and as a result, he experienced worry and dissatisfaction. His face was so bloated that he couldn’t even close his mouth.

“They’ve given me a new lease on life.”

Despite this, the procedure changed my life. Patrick not only reconnected with his family, but he also had the opportunity to meet David Rodebaugh’s mother, Nancy Millar. Their first meeting following the procedure was emotional, and Nancy revealed that she had one request.

“Can I kiss your forehead?” I said. Millar remarked. “That was the one thing I wanted to do because I kissed David’s forehead every night before going to bed when he was tiny.”

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting her for a year. “I’m just grateful,” Patrick expressed his gratitude. “It wouldn’t have been feasible without her.” It’s as if she’s a member of the family. We were able to connect quickly.”

Patrick’s face transplant has been seven years in the making. His life has changed dramatically since then; he and Chrissi split a year after the surgery, after 10 years of marriage.

Patrick Hardison
Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Hardison’s face has recovered well, and the swelling has subsided. Even though he will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life to prevent his immune system from rejecting the transplant, it has allowed him to live again.

In a statement, Hardison stated, “I am sincerely grateful to my donor and his family.”

“Even though I didn’t know who they’d be, I prayed for them every day, knowing how terrible a decision they’d have to make to help me.”

“I hope they recognise the wisdom of their decision in me.” I’d also like to express my gratitude to Dr Rodriguez and his fantastic crew. They’ve given me much more than a fresh appearance. They’ve given me a new lease on life.”

Today in the life of Patrick Hardison – photos.

Today, the father of five hopes to utilise his ordeal and subsequent recovery to share the message that it’s never too late to try again. Patrick is a symbol of hope who wants to help others dealing with debilitating ailments.

“I’ve purchased my property and am in the process of having a house built.” In 2021, Hardison told Fox, “I’m working on a book.”

Patrick Hardison
Twitter/Patrick Hardison

“Because I want to show the rest of the world that there is hope.” I don’t want those who were once in my shoes to believe that this is how I have to live. You don’t have it. “Anything is possible for you.”

Patrick Hardison’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle, and we are in awe of Dr Eduardo D. Rodriguez and his colleagues. You are the true champions!

Please share this story with your friends and family on Facebook to honour the medical team who helped Patrick reclaim his life.

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