Husband’s face donation chronicled

Susan Whitman Helfgot, the wife of the Brighton man whose face donation was considered a medical miracle, shares her family’s journey in a book released yesterday.

Written with William Novak, “The Match” chronicles the country’s second face transplant — which ABC’s docu-series “Boston Med’’ also highlighted in August.

Helfgot’s husband, Joseph, who died last year after heart transplant surgery, donated his face to James Maki. Maki’s face was severely disfigured after falling on the third rail at Ruggles station.

Helfgot said writing the book was cathartic.

In addition to telling the family histories of her husband and Maki, the book also tells the history of the Brigham and Women’s surgeon who completed the surgery, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac.  

“The hard part with this book was weaving so much together in a way the reader could tell who’s on first base,”  Helfgot said. 



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