A power line accident left a 25-year-old man horribly disfigured, but now he has successfully received the nation’s first full face transplant, various media outlets are reporting.
Dallas Wiens underwent over 15 hours of surgery by a team of 30 doctors, nurses and other staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an organ donor. The match was based on gender, race, age and blood type, said the hospital.
Wiens’ was injured in November 2008 while working in a cherry picker. His head touched a high voltage electrical wire, and his face was practically erased.
The transplant will allow him to smile again and feel his daughter’s kisses. Weins told the Assoiated Press (AP) that his daughter and his faith kept him going. She will turn 4 next month.
“Daddy has a boo boo, but God and the doctors are making Daddy’s boo boo all better,” Wiens quotes his daughter.
“Dallas always said after the injury that he now had a choice: he could just choose to get bitter, or choose to get better. His choice was to get better. Thank God today he’s better,” Wiens’s grandfather, Del Peterson, says.
The $300,000 operation was paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense as part of its research to help severely wounded service personnel. A total of$ 3.4 million was granted for five transplants reports the AP.
U.S., France, Spain and China have operated on a dozen face transplants. Wiens’s was the third in the U.S. and the Boston hospital’s second. Connie Culp was the first recipient to receive a partial face transplant in 2008, followed by James Maki in April 2009, who was injured in a freak accident when he fell on the electrified rail in a Boston subway station.
Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who was left disfigured and blind by a friend’s 200-pound chimpanzee is on the transplant waiting list, says plastic surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac.
Pomahac and his team reported that the prognosis was good for these patients who have experienced groundbreaking operations.
Wiens’ grandfather said that his grandson hopes to become an advocate for facial donations. “You will forever remain in our hearts and our prayers and we are grateful for your selflessness,” Peterson thanked the donor family.
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