Severely injured firefighter risked 50/50 survival rate to have most extensive transplant ever performed
Pat Hardison, 41, a former firefighter from Tennessee, lost most of his face when his fireman's mask melted to it during a blaze in a mobile home in 2001. He said his disfigured features (top right) made his young children scream in terror - and he despaired of ever living a normal life again. But now Hardison (pictured bottom right before the blaze) has been given a new face (left) - and new hope - thanks to the riskiest face transplant ever performed.The father of five had the face of 26-year-old David Rodebaugh grafted on to what remained of his own features in August this year after the young man (pictured center inset) died in a cycling crash. The surgery was so perilous that Hardison was told he had only a 50 per cent chance of surviving it. But three months later he is thriving and boasts: 'Now I'm just an average guy.' The amazing transformation was only made possible when Rodebaugh's mom agreed to the transplant, noting that her son had always wanted to be a firefighter.