I feel normal again: Face transplant lets firefighter live life to the full again

A firefighter given a face transplant one year ago has described how he now feels like “a normal guy” again. Patrick Hardison, 42, said he can now eat, see, hear and breathe normally, thanks to last year’s surgery. He has a full head of hair, is able to drive again and hits the gym twice a week. “Before the transplant, every day I had to wake up and get myself motivated to face the world,” Mr Hardison told reporters at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Now, I feel great. No more stares from strangers. I’m pretty much back to being a normal guy, doing normal activities. My life has changed and it has been renewed.”

I like to say that I’m the same old Pat, but that would not give enough credit to the amazing journey that I have gone through over the past year.

Patrick Hardison

Mr Hardison, from Senatobia, Mississippi, was badly injured when he ran into a burning house to rescue a woman in 2001. His face was burned beyond recognition when the roof of the house collapsed on top of him. In August 2015, Mr Hardison received a historic operation which saw his burned face peeled off and replaced with that of 26-year-old New York cyclist David Rodebaugh. Speaking at a news conference to mark the first anniversary of the 26-hour operation, Mr Hardison said: “I’m here today because I want others to see that there is hope beyond the injury.” He plans to meet Mr Rodebaugh’s family later this year.

It’s still almost unbelievable to me that we can do this

Surgeon Eduardo Rodriguez