Firefighter Patrick Hardison Grateful For Face Transplant

Now, one year after Hardison's face transplant - the longest procedure on record at 26 hours, but also the first and most successful - he has recovered and is living a healthy, normal life, Fox News reports.

NEW YORK (AP) — A MS firefighter who received the world's most extensive face transplant after a burning building collapsed on him said Wednesday that he feels like "a normal guy" for the first time in 15 years.

"I can't tell you what a sense of freedom it is to even drive my kids to school", Hardison said in the release. It's a great thing.

"I went into Macy's that day, and nobody stared and looked, and I was like, how blessed is that?" he said. "And that right then pretty much sealed the deal for me".

His daughter, Alison Hardison, wrote in a blog detailing her father's recovery: "I was talking with my dad recently and I asked him, 'What is one thing you've learned in the a year ago since your surgery?' His response was simple".

"My family and I took a trip to Disney World this past June and I swam in the pool with my children for the first time in 15 years".

Following the surgery, children on the streets or wherever Hardison went got scared of his face, which was completely disfigured.

He received the face of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, a BMX extreme bicycling enthusiast from Brooklyn who was pronounced brain dead after a cycling accident. The series of manuscripts also details a methodical approach for face transplant teams considering patients with severely disfiguring full face and scalp burns.

The surgery is part of a transplant revolution in recent years that includes penis transplants in wounded soldiers, the double hand transplant in a young boy, and a uterus transplant in a woman who was unable to bear children. "The challenges were before the surgery".

Monitoring Hardison's recovery over the past year, the medical team was amazed that his body didn't experience an acute rejection episode, and his new eyelids continued to function normally.

Hardison, who attended the news conference with four of his five children, also thanked the family of Rodebaugh, who was declared brain dead August 12, 2015, after crashing a few weeks earlier into a pedestrian while riding his bike and landing on his head.

Patrick added: "Now I don't worry about people pointing and staring or kids running away crying".

He said for years he had thought he would die the way he was after his injuries and every day had to motivate himself to face the world.

Hardison was 27 when, back in September 2001, he attended the house fire that was to change his life forever.

  • Joanne Flowers