A construction worker who was left severely disfigured after getting a huge electric shock has received the world’s second full-face transplant.
Dallas Wiens has been given new lips, facial skin, muscles and nerves to control his facial expressions.
More than 30 doctors, nurses and other experts worked on the 25-year-old during the 15-hour operation.
“The pioneering achievement accomplished by the transplant team is a gift made possible by the most selfless act one human being can do for another, organ donation,” said Betsy Nable, president at the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, US.
A single second changed Wiens’. He was doing repairs at a church in Fort Worth in November, 2008 when he was suffered a devastating electrical shock.
The high-voltage accident seared off most of his face, leaving him blind and without lips, a nose or eyebrows. The father-of-one chatted on the phone with family and is walking, doctors said of his progress.
They expect him to be eating soon with the next major milestone being his return home to Texas.
“Everything they say I will not physically do, I will find some way to get my body in shape enough to go do it,” he resolved.
Wiens is expected to regain most of the sensation of his forehead and cheek on the right side but surgeons were not able to restore his sight.
“He is determined to get well and move on with his life and to make something of his life,” said Mr Wiens’s grandfather Del Peterson,
He spoke of his hopes that more people will donate their faces in future, and thanked the donor, saying: “You will forever remain in our hearts and our prayers.”
Wiens has launched a foundation called About Face. Its mission is to raise money for his face transplant and to help other burn victims.
He says his accident has taught him to “take joy in all the small things in life.”
The world’s first full-face transplant was done in Spain in 2010.