Overall he was very pleased with the 17 hour procedure. Someday we may see faces on the waiting list along with body organs. His face is no means perfect yet, still a lot of healing to take place, but when you think about the before surgery alternative, this certainly is an improvement in his quality of life. BD
Maki's first order of business in his first public appearance following the operation was to thank the widow of Joseph Helfgot, the deceased donor of his new face. Helfgot died last month after a heart transplant procedure.
But as the number of successful face transplant surgeries inches ever higher, medical ethicists already are discussing how to make decisions on if and when patients should be eligible for the costly and complex procedure that some say represents the ultimate gift from a deceased donor's family.
The issue of face transplantation garnered renewed interest on Thursday, when James Maki, 59, the country's second-ever face transplant recipient, appeared before reporters and cameras gathered at Brigham and Women's.
Meanwhile, Maki said that though he was aware the story has been the subject of much media attention, he wished to live quietly and privately.
"I now see this chance as a way to start fresh," he said. "I just appreciate that I have the chance to start a new life, because the first part of my life was nothing but trouble."