Volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison’s life changed forever in the fall of 2001. A fire destroyed his eyelids, lips, ears, and nose. Nearly 15 years later, his life would change once more after meeting Eduardo D. Rodriguez, MD, DDS, director of NYU Langone’s Face Transplant Program.
Dr. Rodriguez, chair of the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery and one of the leading surgeons in his field, could perform the most complex face transplant to date—giving Patrick a new life—but the marathon surgery was also dangerous. “I want them to understand the severity of undergoing an operation like this one,” Dr. Rodriguez says in this Vital Signs podcast.
Patrick was willing to risk it all for a return to normalcy. “I would still have been alive, but I wasn’t living,” he says. “Whatever that risk was I was willing to take it.”