After third-degree burns, a firefighter receives a face transplant and survives against all chances — see him now, 7 years later

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

He was left with third-degree burns all over his face and head, and had to hide behind prosthetic ears, sunglasses and a baseball cap for a long time. His life was turned upside down in 2015 when he underwent the most extensive face transplant.

Hardison had a 50/50 chance of surviving the face transplant, according to sources. The procedure, which lasted 26 hours and involved more than 100 people divided into two teams, was a success. Patrick Hardison is now enjoying life with his lovely wife and children.

Here is how Patrick looks today and everything you need to know about his extraordinary journey.

Face transplant for Patrick

Patrick Hardison became the first American to try a particularly unusual face transplant in 2015, and 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. But one day in 2001, he and his family’s lives would be forever changed.

Hardison previously worked as a volunteer firefighter. He was responding to a house fire in 2001 when a terrible accident occurred. He suffered disfiguring injuries in a house fire. He was inside a burning house when it collapsed on top of him.
A house fire resulted in disfiguring injuries.

Patrick was able to escape through a window, but his head and upper body were already on fire, and he suffered horrific injuries. – “For someone who does what we do for a living, I’ve never seen anybody burned that bad who was still alive,” friend Jimmy Neal said of seeing Hardison.

Third-degree burns covered Patrick’s entire face and scalp. He also had facial burns to his head, neck, and upper torso. The fire also took his ears, lips, the majority of his nose, and even the majority of his eyelid tissue.

Hardison was about to go on a new chapter in his life. He had 71 surgeries and other procedures, but he still couldn’t make normal facial expressions. Patrick couldn’t eat or laugh because he was in so much pain, and he couldn’t even blink or close his eyes. Surgeons were eventually able to stitch skin flaps together to protect his vision, but he was in danger of going blind gradually.

Patrick struggled to accept his appearance as time passed. Being with his children – or even by himself – had turned into a nightmare. The children were terrified as people pointed at him.

Giving up on living a normal life

For years, Patrick had to deal with pain and glances from strangers while going down the street. He’d given up hope of ever leading a regular life, feeling that his appearance was a curse he’d have to live with for the rest of his life.

However, as time passed, surgeons developed new techniques for face transplants. Finally, Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to have a face transplant in 2005. Hardison, on the other hand, had given up hope of ever receiving the assistance he so desperately required.

Then, one day, a friend ran into Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, who worked at New York University Langone Medical Center. Rodriquez had previously performed a face transplant, so the search for a donor for Patrick began. Hardison’s year-long search had yielded only two potential donors. The first was a good match – but not the tissue profile.

David Rodebaugh – face donor for Patrick Hardison

The second candidate looked the most promising. However, the man’s relatives removed him from consideration. Hardison was bracing himself for the likelihood that he may never get a face transplant. Then, apparently out of nowhere, came another possible donor.

David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old guy, had been declared brain dead after sustaining a major head injury in a biking accident. David’s mother, Nancy Millar, chose to give her son organs following his death, including his liver, heart, and kidneys. More than that, she chose to donate his face as well.

When she learned about Patrick and the possibility of a face transplant, she didn’t hesitate. It was an opportunity for David to continue to live for her. “When I met Patrick, I noticed in him the same strong energy and happy spirit that David had. ”

Dr. Rodriguez assembled a team of 100 doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to prepare for Hardison’s surgery. The surgery took 26 hours and was the most extensive soft tissue face transplant ever performed.

Surviving the surgery – 50-50 chance

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, but Patrick got 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.

Fortunately, the treatment was a huge success, but it was only the beginning of a long ride for Patrick. During the first week after the operation, he experienced late-night scares caused by blood pressure changes and an unstable airway.

Because of his new face, he had to relearn how to speak and swallow, and he suffered from both anxiety and frustration as a result. Because his face was swollen, he couldn’t even close his mouth.

“A brand new life”

Despite this, the procedure changed his life. Patrick not only got to see his family again, but he also got to meet David mother, Nancy Millar. Their first meeting following the procedure was emotional, and Nancy had just one request. – “I asked if I might kiss your forehead,” Millar explained.

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

Hardison’s face has recovered beautifully, and the swelling has gone. 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 chance at life.

Patrick Hardison – present day

Today, the father-of-five hopes to use his entire journey to share the message that it is never too late to try again. Patrick represents hope and a willingness to assist others suffering from debilitating injuries.

In 2021, Hardison told Fox – ” I want to show the world that there is hope.” I don’t want people who were like me years ago to think that’s it, I have to live this way forever. No, you don’t. “You are capable of doing anything.”

Patrick Hardison’s recovery is a miracle, and we are very grateful to Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez and his colleagues. You are the true heroes!


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