Patrick Hardison received a new face after third-degree burns, this is him today

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Patrick Hardison from Mississippi had an incredible life story. He became the first American to undergo a face transplant in 2015 after a devastating house fire left his face and neck severely disfigured.

Patrick had a wonderful life until tragedy hit in 2001.

In his earlier years, he served as a volunteer firefighter. Therefore, when he received a call to assist with a house fire, he didn’t hesitate. Unfortunately, as soon as he entered the blazing building, it collapsed and trapped him underneath. He was unable to move, and his body and face suffered severe burns.

Patrick remembered how his mask was melting onto his face and his hose had already melted.

Jimmy Neal, a friend and first responder, expressed astonishment at the severity of Patrick’s burns despite being alive. He mentioned that in all his years of doing this job, he had never witnessed such a severe case.

Youtube/ABC News

Patrick’s face, scalp, head, neck, and upper torso were severely burned. His ears, lips, nose, and eyelids were also affected by the fire.

Patrick revealed to Fox News that he didn’t catch a glimpse of himself until around November. In September, he suffered an injury that required a small pinhole to be cut in one of his eyelids due to a skin graft. When he finally looked in the mirror, he couldn’t help but express his disappointment, thinking, “Is this really it? I can’t handle this.”

Throughout the years, this individual had to go through more than 70 surgeries and various other medical procedures. He was unable to shut his eyes, and medical professionals managed to create skin flaps to safeguard his eyesight. However, he still had the possibility of losing his vision.

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Patrick experienced intense pain whenever he tried to eat. Adjusting to this life was difficult for him as he couldn’t bear to see his reflection in the mirror. People would stare at him wherever he went, making it hard for him to be in the presence of others, including his own children.

Patrick always wore sunglasses and a baseball cap to conceal and safeguard himself. Additionally, he used ear prosthetics.

He shared with Yahoo! Sports that having kids was challenging, never getting a break from the injury, facing public scrutiny daily, and finding it difficult to explain everything.

Before heading to the ball field, make sure you’re ready for the child who might run off screaming.

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Patrick had lost hope of living a normal life for years. However, when Isabelle Dinoire, a French woman, underwent a groundbreaking partial face transplant after a dog attack, it brought a ray of hope to Patrick who was going through a tough time.

Patrick encountered Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Dr. Rodriguez mentioned that he would perform the transplant surgery once a suitable donor was found. After some time, a donor unexpectedly emerged. LiveOnNY, a nonprofit organization managing organ donations in New York, discovered a match. The face Patrick was going to receive was from 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, who had suffered a severe head injury in a bicycle accident and was pronounced brain dead.

Youtube/Inside Edition

Nancy Millar, the mother of this young man, made the decision to donate her son’s organs, including his face. She emphasized the importance of preserving his face, describing it as delicate as a porcelain doll. Millar had previously discussed organ donation with her son.

Knowing that someone would receive her son’s face meant that David’s legacy would live on through those whose lives he would save, like Patrick.

Nancy remembered seeing a powerful, masculine energy in Patrick that reminded her of David when they first met.

David aspired to become a firefighter, and I believed that if he pursued this path, he would possess the same courage and determination as those who willingly enter blazing fires to rescue others, even at the risk of their own lives.

Youtube/Inside Edition – David

The transplant surgery day had finally come. It took 26 hours to complete the procedure, which was carried out by a team of 100 experts.

Patrick faced a great risk, with only a 50/50 chance of survival. Fortunately, the outcome was a tremendous success. Patrick underwent a transformative procedure, receiving a fresh face, scalp, ears, and ear canals. Additionally, he was provided with eyelids that enabled him to blink naturally, preserving his vision.

Patrick informed Time Magazine that there is a risk associated with everything in life.

When your time comes, you will leave this world, whether it happens while you’re walking on the street and get hit by a car or while you’re lying on the operating table.

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Once Patrick healed from the swelling and regained his ability to speak and swallow, he was introduced to his donor’s mother. Nancy’s only wish was to give Patrick a kiss on the forehead.

Nancy mentioned that she wanted to kiss the person’s forehead because she used to do it every night before David went to bed when he was young.

Patrick expressed his gratitude, saying that he had eagerly awaited meeting her for a whole year. He acknowledged that without her, it would not have been achievable. Their connection was so strong that it felt like she was a part of his family.

Twitter/PatrickHardison

Since the surgery, Patrick has been taking medication to prevent his immune system from rejecting the transplanted face. However, he is doing extremely well. Not only did he receive a new face, but also a new lease on life.

Patrick, who is now divorced, is currently writing a book. He aims to inspire those who feel trapped in their circumstances. His goal is to demonstrate that there is always hope and that one can achieve anything they set their mind to. Patrick wants people who were once in his shoes to know that they don’t have to accept their situation as permanent.

Thanks to Nancy, Dr. Rodriguez, and their team, along with Patrick’s determination, he is now a happy man after his miraculous survival and recovery.

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