Now that Patrick Hardison has a car, he can take his kids to school alone. Some of his skills include being able to swim, run his fingers through his hair, and blink.

He doesn’t have to worry about others gazing at him or youngsters being afraid of him in public.


The 42-year-old Senatobia, Mississippi resident and volunteer fireman, couldn’t accomplish anything until about a year ago. His appearance was drastically altered.

In 2001, while responding to a home fire, Hardison received severe face burns, causing him to lose his eyelids, ears, lips, hair, and nose. To conceal his scars, he hid behind baseball hats and sunglasses.

However, things changed drastically when Hardison had the most extensive soft tissue face transplant ever last year. He claims the operation saved his life.

At a press appearance on Wednesday, Hardison stated, “I’d want to say that I’m the same old Pat, but it would not give enough honour to the tremendous experience I have gone through over the last year.”


“Life was challenging after my injury. “I was furious at the world,” he said. “I am here today to show people that there is life after the damage. I feel a great sense of honour in relating my experience to other wounded firefighters, first responders, and United States armed forces members. If telling my experience encourages even one person to look into face transplants, I will consider it a success. Now that I have hope, it’s my mission to spread that message to other afflicted people.”

Credit: NYU

More than a hundred surgeons and other medical specialists at New York University Langone Medical Center worked together under the direction of Dr Eduardo Rodriguez to undertake the groundbreaking operation on Hardison.

More than 20 people have gotten complete or partial face transplants in hospitals and clinics throughout the globe since 2005.

The team utilised the likeness of the late David Rodebaugh, a 26-year-old Brooklyn bike mechanic whose organs were given via the Live On NY donor network after his untimely death in a cycling accident.

After 12 hours of surgery, Hardison was given Rodebaugh’s face.


Hardison got a new face, scalp, ears, and ear canals from Rodriguez and company, as well as bone from his chin, cheeks, and nose.

The muscles that caused him to blink were likewise replaced, as were his eyelids. This operation was the pioneering transplantation of an eyelid.

Hardison claims his eyesight is “quite excellent,” but his vision is severely impaired without eyelids.

His description states, “it felt like I just had pinholes to look through.” Hardison’s new eyelids have been functioning correctly, and his doctors are still surprised that he hasn’t had a severe rejection episode in the last year.

Rodriguez said on Wednesday that Hardison’s new eyes were “one of the most astonishing parts of this transplant” and that his new face and hair colour now have an “extreme similarity” to those of his children.


According to Rodriguez, “this is the third face Patrick lives with,” including the one he was born with and the one he received due to burning damage.

About four further surgeries have been performed on Hardison after his first reconstruction, including ones to fine-tune his new eyelids and lips, remove his feeding tube from his belly, and reconnect his trachea to his windpipe.

He’s grateful to be able to eat normally once again. “Look at me now.” he laughed, having put on 30 pounds.

During a family trip to Disney World, Hardison also visited the fire department that named a fire vehicle after him. Rodriguez added that Hardison would not need more treatments but would be closely monitored for the following year while his face oedema decreased.


“Significant reductions in eyelid and mid-face edoema have been seen. Decrease in lower facial edoema,” Rodriguez noted.

Hardison, meantime, has new plans. “I’m excited to go back to work.” He stated. “I would love to give speeches to inspire others. God created us in His image to enjoy this world to the utmost. I intend to do just that.”