Joe DiMeo is a nightshift worker from New Jersey, he got a second chance at life after he got a face and a double hand transplant. DiMeo suffered severe facial scarring and amputation of his finger-tips after suffering 80 percent burns in 2018. DiMeo had fallen asleep at the wheel while returning home after a night shift. His car crashed, causing it to flip over and explode. DiMeo, who had diminished vision and mobility, was in an induced coma for two and a half months. Severe scarring on the face had resulted in the loss of his lips and eyelids.
Joe DiMeo Age, Height and Weight
As per his date of birth, Joe DiMeo is 22 years old and his height is about 5 feet 10 inches.
Joe DiMeo Accident
In July 2018, Dimeo, 20 at the time, fell asleep at the wheel of his car on Route 22 in New Jersey. He lost control, and the car hit the curb, flipping over before bursting into flames.
A passerby pulled him out of the car before it exploded, but Dimeo still suffered third-degree burns over nearly 80% of his body. The damage was so severe that, though Dimeo survived, he was left without eyelids, ears and much of his fingers. He also had severe scarring on his face and neck that limited his range of motion. The scars even partially covered his eyes.
His independence had been taken from him in an instant.
Fortunately, DiMeoâ€™s life was narrowly saved as a passersby managed to pull him out of the blazing car moments before it exploded. However, DiMeo still suffered third-degree burns on 80% of his body. As he slowly recovered, it was seen that the accident had left his face without eyelids and ears and his face was extremely scarred. In fact, he also lost most of his fingers. The accident also took away his ability to move his neck and limited his movements overall.
DiMeo had opted to undergo the risky and critical face and hand dual transplant surgery, but it could have ended his life if anything had gone wrong. Though hand transplants and face transplants have been performed separately several times, together these two transplants have been attempted only twice in the world, both times unsuccessfully.
On Wednesday, doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center announced that, following 23 grueling hours of surgery, the now-22-year-old Dimeo was on the road to gaining his life back as the recipient of the world’s first successful face and hands transplant.
“He’s the most highly motivated patient I’ve ever met,” Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, head of the team that completed the unprecedented surgery, told reporters at a Wednesday news briefing.
Though the surgery occurred in August of last year, Dimeo’s doctors waited to ensure the transplants were not rejected before calling the operation a success.
“There have been over a hundred hand transplants performed successfully, and close to 50 face transplants,” Rodriguez said. “So fundamentally there was no reason why they couldn’t occur together, successfully.”
There have only been two previous attempts to complete such a surgery — to transplant a patient’s face and both hands — worldwide. Both were unsuccessful.
“We needed to avoid infection, we needed to have this operation occur as fast as possible, we had to be very selective with the donor, and we had to implement every state of the art technology that would ensure the complete success of Joe’s operation, and that’s exactly what we did.”
After the surgery was completed, DiMeo had to spend 45 days in intensive care, followed by inpatient rehab for two months. Now, DiMeo is able to open his eyes again, smile, and even use his hands for writing, aside from normal work.
“I’d like to recognize the selflessness of my donor, and how none of this would be possible without his sacrifice,” DiMeo said in a self-written statement, adding that he feels he has been gifted a â€˜second chance at lifeâ€™, reported CNN. His doctor also revealed that before his surgery was performed, they observed a momentâ€™s silence to honor the donorâ€™s sacrifice.