Former Firefighter Receives the Most Extensive Face Transplant in History


Face transplants are still a relatively new medical procedure—in the past 10 years, doctors have performed fewer than 30 operations. Now former Mississippi firefighter Patrick Hardison has received the most extensive face transplant ever completed. 

While attempting to rescue a woman he believed was trapped in a fire in 2001, Hardison sustained third degree burns across his entire face and scalp. For the past 14 years he’s lived without ears or eyelids, and a severely disfigured nose and mouth. His face transplant came after 71 surgeries that aimed to reconstruct his face, including one that grafted skin from his thighs onto his head.

Hardison waited on the donor registry for more than a year to receive a full face transplant. The right donor needed to not only match his blood type, but his skin tone and hair color. Just when he was beginning to lose hope, Hardison received the news this past August that his match had been found.

Over the course of 26 hours beginning August 14, doctors painstakingly attached the face of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh, who was fatally injured in a cycling accident, onto 41-year-old Hardison’s skull. The team of surgeons at NYU Langone Medical Center, led by Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, succeeded in transplanting more facial tissue than had ever been used in this type of procedure before. At the time of the surgery, Rodriguez's team said the procedure had a 50-50 chance of success, and even afterward, there are plenty of risks involved. According to Rodriguez, Hardison will likely have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life. 

It’s been three months since the operation, and Hardison can now speak and express himself using his new face. He can even blink his eyes, something he hadn’t been able to do in over a decade. The procedure is a milestone for the medical community and for facial surgery candidates around the world, but according to Rodriguez, more registered donors are needed before the operations can become a regular occurrence.

According to Mic, Rodebaugh's mother reportedly told LiveOnNY, the organ donor match organization that facilitated the facial transplant, that her son had always wanted to be a firefighter. "David was born a miracle. … He was born to be a star. He will always be a star, and the miracle of David will live on."

[h/t: Mic]

Paris is Selling Its Love Locks, and Donating the Proceeds to Refugee Organizations

Paris officials have turned an urban problem into a public service: They’re selling the city’s “love locks” as souvenirs and donating the proceeds to refugee groups. The Guardian first reported the news back in December, and now—beginning on Saturday, May 13—the locks will be auctioned off online.

For traveling couples, the padlocks they affixed to the iron grills of the French city’s bridges, initials scrawled on the surface, were a symbol of romance. But to Parisian officials, they were a civil danger. Fearing that the locks would weaken overpasses like the Pont des Arts, the city began dismantling the metal trinkets in 2015.

Left with 1 million padlocks (which totaled 65 metric tons of scrap metal), authorities needed a creative way to repurpose the waste. So they decided to sell 10 metric tons of locks to members of the public, marketing them as relics of the city’s bygone history.

“Members of the public can buy five or 10 locks, or even clusters of them, all at an affordable price,” Bruno Julliard, first deputy mayor of Paris, said in a statement quoted by The Guardian in 2016. “All of the proceeds will be given to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris.”

The locks will be sold in a variety of lots, some of them just as a single souvenir, others in groups. Smaller lots are expected to sell for anywhere from $100 to $200, while pieces of the padlocked railings could go for as much as $5000 to $9000 apiece. Proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army, Emmaus Solidarity, and Solipam.

99-Year-Old Woman Checks "Spending Time in Jail" Off Her Bucket List

When a senior looks back on his or her life to assess their triumphs and regrets, “not getting arrested” typically falls into the former category. But according to the BBC, a 99-year-old woman in the Netherlands wished she had spent time in the slammer. To help her achieve this unconventional bucket list dream, law officers let the woman, named Annie, hang out in a jail cell—with handcuffs on—at the police station in the eastern Dutch town of Nijmegen-Zuid.

Annie has her family to thank for the experience. "Her niece came to us with this request," a police officer told the BBC. "When she was reporting a crime, she told the police officer about Annie's 'bucket list.'"

"You get many unusual requests with this profession," he added. "We thought it would be nice to do something special for Annie."

Politie Nijmegen-Zuid/Facebook

As you can see in the photos above, Annie’s brush with the law was a blast. However, she isn’t the only senior who has wondered what life is like behind bars. Last year, a 102-year-old woman named Edie Simms from St. Louis, Missouri was faux-arrested per her own bucket list request. Police teamed up with a local senior center to make Simms’s dream come true. "She was so excited that she can ride in a police car and she said, 'Do you think you could put those handcuffs on me?'" Michael Howard, executive director of Five Star Senior Center, told KPLR. Talk about centenarians gone wild!

[h/t BBC]


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