In April 2011, less than one month after the hospital performed the first full face transplant in the country, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital face transplant team, led by Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, performed the nation’s second full face transplant on patient Mitch Hunter of Indiana. It was the third face transplant procedure to be performed at BWH and the fourth face transplant in the country.
The team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and residents worked for more than 14 hours to replace the full facial area of patient Mitch Hunter, 30, of Indiana, including the nose, eyelids, muscles of facial animation and the nerves that power them and provide sensation. Hunter suffered a severe shock from a high voltage electrical wire following a car accident in 2001.
On April 9, 2009, another BWH surgical team, also lead by Dr. Pomahac, successfully performed the first partial face transplant in New England — only the second such procedure to be accomplished in the United States and the seventh in the world. Then in March of 2011, a BWH surgical team performed the first full face transplant in the United States. The BWH face transplant program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and is actively seeking qualified face transplant candidates. Learn more about the face transplant surgery program at BWH and the research that led to the breakthrough.
For questions about the Department of Defense grant, contact: Col Janet Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement from the Hunter family:
"The Hunter family is truly grateful to the donor and his family for this amazing gift. We respect and admire their courage and intend to honor them by continuing in their giving spirit.
We are also tremendously grateful to the many caregivers who have brought Mitch to this point: from the first responders in North Carolina, to Dr. Joe Molnar at Wake Forest, to Dr. Pomahac, his team, and the amazing group of care providers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, mere words will never be enough to express gratitude."
Learn more about Mitch Hunter on his Facebook page: facebook.com/mitch.hunter3
Today, BWH is recognized as one of the world’s leaders in transplantation.
In 1954, a BWH team led by Dr. Joseph Murray performed the first successful human organ donor transplant, a kidney, from one brother to another. In recognition of this achievement, Dr. Murray received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1990.
The first heart transplant in New England was performed at BWH in 1984; this year, the 600th heart transplant was successfully performed at the hospital.
The first heart-lung transplant in Massachusetts was done at BWH in 1992
BWH also performed the first triple organ transplant and the first quintuple lung transplant in the United States in 1995 and 2004 respectively.
In 2006, BWH performed for the first time in its history 100 kidney transplants in one year and in 2008, more than 30 lung transplants were performed, putting BWH among the top hospitals in the country for volume.
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