You probably watched the movie “Without a Face”, which shows how easy it is to transform into another person with the help of plastic surgery. In today’s story you will learn the story of a man who had to go through similar events. But in life everything turned out to be much more complicated… Patrick Hardison from Mississippi was an exemplary family man, a loving husband and father of five children. The American worked as a volunteer firefighter, rescuing people from the fire. Patrick’s life completely changed when he went to extinguish a fire in one of the houses of his hometown in 2001.
The fire was so strong that the wall of the building collapsed from the flames. The man was inside the building, rescuing a woman stuck there. The consequences were truly terrifying! Patrick’s protective mask, which firefighters wear to escape from the fire, began to melt. The man was trapped inside a burning building, but he managed to escape through a window. But the firefighter’s head and upper body were already on fire.
When the man got out, he was quickly extinguished, but Patrick managed to get very severe burns. As Hardison’s colleague Jimmy Neal says, he has never seen anyone stay alive after such a severe burn. The firefighter received severe burns to his face, including ears, lips, eyelids and nose, as well as his head and neck, which disfigured the appearance of the unfortunate. And a completely different life began for Patrick…
Since then, the man had to go through many painful transplants that were supposed to help him regain his lost face. But the result of the first operations was very sad. The face was completely distorted, there were no clear outlines in it. Patrick had to wear glasses and a cap to hide his deformity. He also had prosthetics installed to replace his ears. Patrick looked so repulsive that the children on the street ran away when they saw him.
The firefighter underwent more than 70 operations, but they did not help him to close his eyes, smile without pain, form normal facial expressions. At the same time, the risk of going blind after a while increased. But in 2015, a man had a chance to change everything! In the surgical field, new techniques have been developed to restore the face, which made possible what previously seemed inaccessible. And then one day Patrick found Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, who decided to take up the difficult case of a firefighter.
The search for a donor began, which took a whole year! As a result, doctors took for surgery the face of David Rodebo, who died after falling from a bicycle when he was 26 years old. The mother of the deceased guy decided without hesitation to donate her son’s tissues for Patrick when she learned his story. So, the firefighter had to undergo a complex face transplant operation. At the same time, the doctors said that the chances of survival in it for the patient were 50/50.
But Patrick decided to do it! He explained his decision to his eldest daughter Alison: “I don’t have to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses. I’ll look normal when I walk you down the aisle.” The operation was the largest face transplant in the short time of existence of such procedures. Dr. Rodriguez carefully selected a team for such a complex process. As a result, 100 doctors, nurses and other medical workers took part in the operation!
They were the best of the best, doctors with experience and talent in surgery. The operation itself took as much as 26 hours! As a result, doctors transplanted a new face to Patrick, as well as the scalp and ears. The operation was very successful, but after it the man re-learned to speak, swallow, close his mouth. His face was very swollen, Patrick felt constant pain. But he didn’t regret anything, because the transplant changed his life!
Over time, the tumor began to shrink, the face came to life. It was no longer necessary for him to wear a baseball cap, now he did not frighten others with his appearance. Although now his face looks strange and not natural, it is not comparable to what happened to him before the transplant. The man met with the donor’s mother after the operation to thank her for her help. The meeting was very touching. The woman asked to kiss Patrick on the forehead.
After all, it was the face of her dead son… Mom kissed her boy on the forehead every time he went to bed. Several years have passed since the transplant. Unfortunately, Patrick divorced his wife, who went through so many trials with him. He drinks drugs that prevent tissue rejection, but he feels great.
The man decided to write a book about his unique experience to inspire people in a similar situation to never give up. Real life is very far from what is shown in the movies… But it still has real heroes, courageous people who are able to prove with their fortitude and endurance that a person can become a winner in any situation!