Ronald Poppo, who had 80 per cent of his face bitten off when he was attacked had to have his left eye removed, but doctors are hoping to restore vision in his right eye, which was also severely damaged.
He is being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Centre, which revealed photos of him walking down a hospital hallway, supported by staff.
“He’s pleased to report to all of you that he’s feeling well, he’s eating, he’s walking around with physical therapy, he’s talking with us,” said Nicholas Namias, a University of Miami trauma surgeon.
The photo also reveals two-thirds of Poppo’s face covered in scabs, he is missing his nose, and there are holes in his chest, which may be from bullets fired by the police officer who killed his attacker.
The victim is unrecognisable from a photo released of him before the incident, looking brown, and scruffy, with a grey beard and wiry hair.
His hair has been shaved off, and his beard has been trimmed, leaving a moustache over his upper lip.
In the harrowing attack, which has shocked the world, 31-year-old Eugene, originally from Haiti, chewed lumps of flesh from the face of Poppo, as he slept on train tracks last month.
Poppo before the attack
Video footage of the attack, shows a number of people seen cycling and driving past and doing nothing to stop it.
After arriving on the scene, officer Jose Rivera shouted at Eugene to stop but he simply got up and growled and continued eating at the man’s face.
Eugene was then shot and killed by the Miami police officer.
The attack left Poppo with a brain injury, similar to that of a car crash victim. Doctors said he had not complained about his pain, and is talking about swimming, which he used to enjoy, and has asked for pizza, orange juice and Italian food.
“He’s asked for the television to be switched off in his room, except when the Miami Heat basketball games are on,” Namias said.
Dr. Nicholas Namias spoke with Poppo, and said he had two words he wanted to convey to the public: “Go Heat.” in support of the Miami Heat basketball team.
“He’s really just sort of living in the moment and just wants to talk about routine things,’ the doctor said.
Poppo in hospital following the brutal attack (TNT have censored this image)
Surgeons will use skin grafts to rebuild Poppo’s face, as social workers try to find him a home. He has been homeless for nearly 30 years.
Donations set up for his aid have so far reached US$15,000.
“If he doesn’t get his vision back then it becomes, is he concerned about how he looks or is it more about how the world sees him? Those are things to think about,” plastic surgeon Wrood Kassira said.
Emergency callers reported seeing a naked man swinging from a light pole on Miami’s MacArthur Causeway a few minutes before the attack.
Surveillance video from a nearby building shows Eugene stripping Poppo and pummeling him before appearing to lie on top of him.
Tests revealed a number of undigested pills in Eugene’s stomach, believed to be ‘bath salts’ a potent hallucinogenic drug.
Picture: Jackson Memorial Hospital