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Mass. Face Transplant Patient Wants 'Normal Life'

Mass. Face Transplant Patient Wants 'Normal Life'

James Maki, 59, the recipient of the second face transplant in the United States, speaks to reporters. (Source: Associated Press/Josh Reynolds)

Associated Press/AP Online

May 27, 2009

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts man who received the nation’s second face transplant asked for a mirror four days after the operation.

“I just wanted to see what the new Jim looked like,” James Maki said in an interview with The Boston Globe published Thursday, his first public statements since the April 9 procedure.

Maki stared in wonder and told the doctor who performed the operation, Bohdan Pomahac (POE-ma-hawk), that he couldn’t believe he looked so much like he used to.

Pomahac asked what he thought.

“I’m happy,” Maki said.

His daughter, who just graduated from college, cried with joy when she first saw her father.

Maki, 59, still is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston recovering, but is scheduled to go home in about a week. He said he’d like to finish his degree and maybe work with fellow Vietnam veterans.

Maki’s face was disfigured in June 2005 when he fell onto the electrified third rail at a Boston subway station. He lost his nose, upper lip, cheeks, the roof of his mouth, as well as muscle, bone, and nerves.

For years he rarely went out because people would recoil when they saw him.

Maki, who grew up in Amherst, said he also struggled with substance abuse.

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