Dallas Wiens has been without a face for more than two years.
Last week, dozens of doctors and staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital gave Wiens a face when they performed the country’s first full facial transplant.
“Dallas always said after the injury that he now had a choice: He could choose to get bitter or he could choose to get better. His choice was to get better. Thank God today he’s better,” said his grandfather, Del Peterson.
Wiens, 25, of Texas, was working in a cherry-picker lift when his face got too close to high voltage lines.
“He sustained devastating injury leaving him with bare bone instead of face,” said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the head of the Brigham transplant team.
Characteristics of the donor’s appearance are not likely to be seen in Wiens. The underlying facial bones and muscle of Wiens will change the shape of the facial tissue graft, the hospital said.
The donor’s family wished to remain anonymous, but they were thanked multiple times by Wien’s family and doctors.
It’s “the most selfless gift one human can provide another,” Pomahac said.
The hospital performed a partial face transplant in 2009 and doctors said that patient is “doing great,” and they expect Wiens to be on a similar course.
The surgery was announced yesterday during a press conference. Doctors said Wiens would remain in the hospital for the near future.
After that, his grandfather said, he plans to become an advocate.
“We are forever in your debt,” Peterson said to the doctors. “Dallas intends, once he is able, to become an advocate for facial donations so that you ... can continue to perform miracles for others.”