One Year After His Transplant, This Firefighter Is Thriving With His New Face

He's making an incredible recovery.

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Mississippi firefighter Patrick Hardison was injured in the line of duty in 2001. Last year, he underwent the most extensive face transplant ever performed, and his recovery has been incredible.

Hardison had severe facial burns from a house fire that cost him his eyelids, ears, lips, hair and most of his nose, CNN reports. A team of more than 100 doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center performed the 12-hour surgery using a face donated from David Rodenbaugh, a 26-year-old who died in a bicycle accident.

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Hardison, 42, had to have a few additional procedures to adjust his new facial features and remove his feeding and breathing tubes. He takes anti-rejection medicine daily, but his dosage has gone down over time because he has not had a single episode in which his body has tried to reject his new face.

Patrick Hardison's progress photos from August 2015 through August 2016.
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The father of five can drive a car and sleep more soundly because he can now blink and close his eyes. In general, he says strangers don't stare at him anymore, kids don't run away from him, and he can go about his daily life as usual. He even took his family to Disney World in June and was able to swim in the pool for the first time in 15 years.

"I like to say I'm still the same old Pat, but that would not give enough credit to the amazing journey I have gone through this past year," Hardison said in a press conference. "The road to recovery has been long. But if I had the opportunity to do it again, I would in a heartbeat." He hopes to meet the family of his donor this fall to thank them.

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