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Even a complete face alteration for persons in need is feasible with the knowledge professionals already possess. Since Isabelle Dinoire became the first person to ever have a face transplant in 2005, face transplants have been carried out.

When Patrick Hardison underwent the treatment for the first time in the US in 2015, a highly unique face transplant was carried out there. Like any other devoted father, Patrick enjoyed spending time with his family and attending his children’s athletic events.


The volunteer fireman always tried to do anything he could to support his town. But on a day in 2001, his family’s lives would change irrevocably.

Patrick received severe face burns to his upper chest, head, and neck after being called to a house fire.


The fire destroyed his ears, lips, most of the tissue in his eyelids, and much of his nose. It seems he would spend his life dealing with kids avoiding him and other parents pointing and muttering.

However, the most thorough face transplant was made possible in 2015. Being so complicated, Patrick only had a 50/50 chance of making it through the treatment.


Patrick Hardison

Youtube/ABC News

He now has an entirely different visage and appears nothing short of amazing. Here is everything you need to know about Patrick Hardison’s incredible tale.


Patrick Hardison – face transplant

Earlier in his life, Mississippian Patrick Hardison served as a volunteer firefighter. He responded to a house fire in 2001 when a terrible incident occurred.

When a flaming house collapsed on top of Hardison, he was inside. Hardison claimed, “[My mask] was melting to my face.” My hose had already begun to melt. Despite being able to escape through a window, Patrick suffered terrible injuries and had a burning head and upper torso.


Patrick Hardison

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

According to Hardison’s buddy and first responder Jimmy Neal, “For somebody who does what we do for a job, I’ve never seen anybody burned that bad and was still alive.” The father’s entire face and head were covered with third-degree burns. His head, neck, and upper chest also received face burns.

The fire destroyed his ears, lips, most of his nose, and even most of the tissue in his eyelids. “I probably didn’t see myself until November. In September, I was hurt,” Hardison told Fox News.


“They only made a tiny pinhole in one of my eyelids since they used skin graft to conceal everything. I asked, “Is this it?” after looking in the mirror. He recalls thinking, “I can’t do this. Hardison was anticipating a new life. He had 71 surgeries and some additional procedures, yet he could still not make natural facial expressions.

Patrick could not blink, close his eyes, eat, or laugh without experiencing discomfort. Eventually, surgeons could stitch together skin flaps to shield his vision. He was still at risk of gradually losing his vision.



As time passed, Patrick struggled to accept his appearance. Even just being with his kids or himself turned into a nightmare. He was being pointed at, and the kids were terrified.

In addition to custom-made prosthetics that served as his ears, Patrick always sported a baseball cap, sunglasses, and other accessories. “I had children. It was simply a difficult moment. I was injured for a week and never had a day off.


Patrick Hardison

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

It happens every day when you go outside in public. There is no way to describe everything adequately, he continued. When you go to a baseball field, you must be ready for the kid who runs off screaming.

Patrick faced discomfort and others’ stares while going down the street for years.


He had given up on leading an everyday life and began to believe that his disfigured appearance was a curse that would last a lifetime. But as time passed, surgeons created fresh approaches to face transplants.

Finally, Isabelle Dinoire underwent a face transplant in 2005, making her the first person ever to do so. But Hardison had given up on getting the assistance he so sorely needed.


Eventually, a buddy ran into Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, who worked at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, one day. Rodriquez had previously performed a face transplant, so the search for a donor for Patrick got underway.

Hardison’s search has only produced two potential donors after a year. The tissue profile wasn’t a good match, but the first one was.


Disfiguring injuries in a house fire

The second applicant had a great deal of potential. The man’s family, nevertheless, removed him from consideration. Hardison was about ready to concede that a face transplant might not be possible for him.


Then, suddenly, another potential donor surfaced. A match had been made, according to LiveOnNY, a non-profit that organizes organ donations in the New York region.

The face belonged to 26-year-old brain-dead bike accident victim David Rodebaugh, who had suffered a severe head injury.

After he passed, Nancy Millar, David’s mother, decided to give her son’s organs, including his liver, heart, and kidneys.


Moreover, she decided to part with his face as well. “You better spare his face, I said. He has a porcelain doll’s face. And we had talked about him being a donor,” Millar said to People.

She acted without hesitation when she learned about Patrick and the potential for a face transplant. She saw it as David’s chance to continue living.

When she first saw Patrick, she recalled, “I noticed this strength, this big, manly, burly kind of energy in him that David had.” “David aspired to be a firefighter. If this person was a firefighter, I knew he had David’s strength. He was willing to step into a fire to save people and risk his own life.”

Patrick Hardison




Youtube/Inside Edition

The 100-person medical staff led by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez was convened, and they all worked to get Hardison ready for surgery. It was the largest soft tissue face transplant ever done and took an incredible 26 hours to complete.

Hardison received a new scalp, face, ears, and ear canals from the medical staff. They chose pieces of bone from the entire nose, the cheekbones, and the chin. In addition, Patrick had new eyelids, which allowed him to blink normally once more.


The procedure, however, did carry some danger. Patrick had a 50/50 chance of surviving because of the nature of the highly complicated treatment. According to Hardison, “there are risks involved in everything in life.”

“When the time comes, you’ll go whether you’re lying on the operating table or hit by a car while crossing the street.”


Patrick had a perhaps final meeting with his family before the operation. Alison, his eldest child, questioned why her father was so eager to undergo the treatment.

Lost hope of living an ordinary life




He declared, “I won’t have to wear my shades or a ball cap. When I get to escort you down the aisle, I’ll look normal,'” Alison remembers Patrick saying. “And that effectively sealed the deal for me right then.”

David Rodebaugh




Youtube/Inside Edition

Although the treatment was a huge success, Patrick still had a very long road ahead of him. He experienced late-night scares, including changes in blood pressure and an unstable airway during the first week after the operation.

He struggled with nervousness and experienced moments of irritation due to having to relearn how to speak and swallow due to his new face. His face prevented him from even closing his mouth.


Patrick Hardison – face donor David Rodebaugh

Despite all of that, the operation changed my life. In addition to being delighted to see his family once more, Patrick also got to know Nancy Millar, the mother of David Rodebaugh.

After the procedure, they had an emotional first meeting, and Nancy revealed that she had one request. I asked if I might kiss your forehead, Millar recalled. “That was the one thing I wanted to do because when David was tiny, I kissed his forehead every night before he went to bed.”

“I’ve been longing to meet her for a year. I’m incredibly appreciative, Patrick remarked. “It wouldn’t have been possible without her. She seems like family. We had no trouble connecting.”

Seven years have passed since Patrick had a face transplant. Since then, a lot has changed in his life. After ten years of marriage, he and Chrissi separated one year after the surgery.

50/50 chance of surviving the surgery

The edema has diminished, and Hardison’s face has recovered well. Although he will always need to take anti-rejection medication to prevent his body’s immune system from rejecting the transplant, it has given him a chance to live once more.


Patrick Hardison

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

Hardison expressed his gratitude to his donor and his family in a statement. I prayed for them every day even though I had no idea who they would be since I was aware of the terrible choice they would have to make to assist me. “I hope they recognize in me the virtue of their choice.


“They have given me a new life.”

Additionally, I want to thank Dr. Rodriguez and his superb staff. They gave me more than just a fresh look. I now have a new life thanks to them.


Patrick Hardison

Youtube/NYU Langone Health

The father of five now hopes to share the idea that it’s never too late to give up by using his rehabilitation and journey.

Patrick Hardison today – pictures


Patrick Hardison

Twitter/PatrickHardison

Patrick embodies optimism and aspires to assist others dealing with disabling injuries.

“I’ve purchased my property and am attempting to build a house. In 2021, Hardison disclosed to Fox that he was writing a book. Because I want to demonstrate to the world that there is hope. I don’t want individuals who were formerly like me to think they had no choice but to live.”


We are extremely moved by Patrick Hardison’s miraculous recovery, surgeon Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, and his staff. The true heroes are you!

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