Mitch Hunter, an army private from Indiana, has become the fourth American in history to successfully undergo a face transplant. The operation took 14 hours and required a staff of 30 at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, who have now performed three such groundbreaking procedures.
Hunter, 30, lost most of his face after a car accident back in 2001. The car hit a telephone pole, and Hunter, in an attempt at saving his friend's life, came into contact with a fallen power line — sending 10,000 volts of electricity through his foot and exiting through his face.
"I flat-lined twice on the way to the hospital," Hunter said in a recent interview. "They used paddles to shock me back to life."
After 40 reconstructive surgeries, Hunter was still missing a nose and lacked a mouth. After being approved by the hospital, he was placed on a face transplant waiting list. A donor became available some time in the past week. (The exact date of the surgery is not made public so as to protect the identity of the victim and the victim's family.)
A new dad and worker at an Amazon warehouse, Hunter is recovering well at an adjacent apartment facility. Barring any complications in accepting the new tissue, he should be discharged in two to three months.