In 2001, Patrick Hardison’s life changed forever when he received devastating injuries in a house fire as he attempted to rescue a woman he believed to be trapped in the blaze. He was left with third-degree burns to his entire face and scalp, and for years he wore a baseball cap, sunglasses, and prosthetic ears in public. Children would often run away when they saw him.
However, in 2015, Hardison underwent the most extensive face transplant ever. Despite having only, a 50/50 chance of survival, the surgery was a success. Over 26 hours and with the help of more than 100 people working in two teams, Hardison’s face was completely transformed.
Today, he is living life alongside his beloved wife and children. The advancements in medicine and technology are truly remarkable, and it’s incredible to think of all the ways doctors and surgeons are able to save lives, such as replacing vital organs like hearts and kidneys.
Patrick Hardison – face transplant
With the knowledge experts have today, it’s even possible to change an entire face for people in need. Face transplants have been performed since 2005, when Isabelle Dinoire became the first-ever person to receive one. In 2015, another very special face transplant was performed in the US, when Patrick Hardison became the first American to undergo the procedure.
Like any other loving father, Patrick attended his children’s sporting activities, and liked spending time with his family. The volunteer fireman always endeavored to help his community in any way he could. One day in 2001, though, the lives of he and his family would change forever.
Patrick was called out to a house fire, where he sustained extensive facial burns to his upper torso, head, and neck. The blaze also claimed his ears, lips, most of his eyelid tissue, and most of his nose.
It seemed as though he was destined to face a life of children running away from him and other parents whispering and pointing. But in 2015, the most extensive face transplant ever performed became a reality. Patrick had only a 50/50 chance of surviving the procedure, such was its complexity.
Today, he has an entirely new face – and looks nothing short of incredible. Here’s all you need to know about the mind-blowing story of Patrick Hardison. The complexity of the surgery was such that, it took 26 hours and more than 100 people working in two teams, but it was a success. Today, Patrick Hardison is living life alongside his beloved wife and children.
Disfiguring injuries in a house fire
In 2001, Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter from Mississippi, responded to a house fire. Tragically, the home collapsed on top of him, leaving him with severe burns on his head, upper body, and face. His injuries were so severe that a first responder later remarked, “I’ve never seen anybody burned that bad that was still alive.”
Hardison underwent 71 surgeries and several other procedures, but despite the medical attention, he was left unable to form normal facial expressions, eat or laugh without feeling pain, and couldn’t even blink or close his eyes.
His injuries also put him at risk of going blind. As the years went by, Hardison struggled to accept his appearance, and going out in public became a nightmare.
Children were scared of him, and people would point and stare. But in 2015, Hardison underwent the most extensive face transplant ever performed, and the results were nothing short of incredible.
Despite having only, a 50/50 chance of surviving the procedure, Hardison emerged with a new face and a renewed sense of hope. Today, he looks nothing like he did before the accident and is able to live a more normal life. His story is a testament to the incredible advancements in medical technology, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Lost hope of living an ordinary life
Patrick Hardison, a volunteer firefighter from Mississippi, experienced a life-changing accident in 2001. He was responding to a house fire when the building collapsed on top of him, leaving him with severe burns on his face, scalp, head, neck, and upper torso.
The blaze also claimed his ears, lips, most of his nose, and even most of his eyelid tissue. He underwent 71 surgeries and several other procedures, but he was still unable to form normal facial expressions and had to rely on a baseball cap and sunglasses to hide his injuries.
For years, Patrick battled pain and stares from people when walking down the street. He had difficulty accepting his appearance and thought that his disfigured face was something he would have to live with forever. But with the development of new face transplant methods, a glimmer of hope emerged.
In 2005, Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to have a face transplant, and Patrick’s friend found Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, who worked at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York and had performed a face transplant before.
After a year of searching, Patrick’s search had turned up just two potential donors. The first one was a good match, but the tissue profile was not suitable. However, the second one was a perfect match, and in 2015, Patrick Hardison underwent the most extensive face transplant ever performed.
The procedure was complex, and Patrick had only a 50/50 chance of survival. But today, he has an entirely new face, and his story is nothing short of remarkable. He is now able to eat, laugh, blink, and close his eyes without feeling pain and lives a normal life with his family.
Patrick Hardison – face donor David Rodebaugh
In the face of incredible adversity, Patrick Hardison had never given up hope. Despite being severely burned in a house fire, he had undergone 71 surgeries and several other procedures in an effort to regain a sense of normalcy in his life.
But for years, Hardison was unable to form normal facial expressions, and the pain and staring from people when walking down the street made it difficult for him to accept his appearance.
For years, Hardison had searched for a solution, but the search for a face transplant seemed to be fruitless. That was until a friend stumbled across Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, who worked at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
Rodriquez had performed a face transplant before, and so the search began to find Patrick a donor. After a year, Hardison’s search had turned up just two potential donors. But it wasn’t until David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old who had sustained a massive head injury in a bike accident, came to light that the possibility of a face transplant became a reality.
David’s mother, Nancy Millar, decided to donate her son’s organs, including his liver, heart, and kidneys, as well as his face. And when Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez and his team of 100 doctors, nurses, and other medical aides prepared for Hardison’s surgery, it was the most extensive soft tissue face transplant ever performed – the surgery took a whopping 26 hours.
50/50 chance of surviving the surgery
The medical team gave Hardison a new face, scalp, ears, and ear canals. They selected portions of bone from the chin, cheeks, and the entire nose. Not only that, but Patrick also received new eyelids, returning to him the ability to blink naturally.
However, the surgery was not without risk. Due to the highly complex nature of the procedure, Patrick only had a 50/50 chance of surviving. “Everything in life has a risk,” Hardison told Time Magazine. “When it’s your time to go, you’ll go – whether you’re walking down the street and get hit by a car or you’re lying on the operating table.”
Prior to the surgery, Patrick met his family for what could’ve been the last time. His eldest daughter Alison wondered why her father was so desperate to go through with the procedure.
“He said, ‘I won’t have to wear a ball cap and I won’t have to wear my sunglasses. I’ll look normal whenever I get to walk you down the aisle,” Alison recalled Patrick saying. “And that right then pretty much sealed the deal for me.”
Fortunately, the procedure was a big success, though it was only the start of a very long journey for Patrick. During the first week following the operation, he endured late night scares involving fluctuations in blood pressure and an unstable airway.
The new face also meant that he had to learn how to speak and swallow again, and he suffered from both anxiety and had bouts of frustration because of it. He couldn’t even close his mouth because his face was so swollen. Despite all that, the surgery was life changing.
“They have given me a new life,” Hardison said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to my donor and his family.” Seven years after the surgery, Patrick’s life has changed plenty – he got divorced a year after the surgery, but his face has healed nicely and he has a new lease on life.
Patrick Hardison today – pictures
Patrick Hardison’s journey to recovery after a face transplant is not only a medical miracle, but also a testament to the power of hope.
The father-of-five, who underwent the highly complex and risky procedure with a 50/50 chance of survival, wants to use his story to spread the message that it’s never too late to give up.
“I want to show the world that you can have hope,” Hardison told Fox in 2021. “I wouldn’t want people that were like me years ago to think that’s it, I have to live like this. You don’t. You can accomplish anything.”
Hardison is now working to build a new home and is even writing a book to inspire others who may be struggling with debilitating injuries. We are inspired by Hardison’s determination and the work of surgeon Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez and his team, who are the true heroes in this story.
Patrick Hardison’s journey to recovery after a face transplant is truly inspiring. He wants to use his experience to spread hope and help others struggling with debilitating injuries. Hardison’s message is clear: it’s never too late to give up and you can accomplish anything with hope and determination.
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