Dallas, TX – Dallas Wiens is packing to come home. The 26 year old Fort Worth man is the nation's first full-face transplant recipient. KERA's BJ Austin reports on his first public appearance after the surgery about two months ago.
In November 2008, Dallas Wiens was in a cherry picker painting a church. He hit a high voltage power line. His facial features were burned away, and he was left blind.
In a webcast from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston Wiens showed the world his new face - sporting a goatee and dark sunglasses. He says he's adapting quite well.
Wiens: To me the face feels natural. It feels as it it's become my own.
Wiens received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an anonymous donor. The operation was paid for by the U.S. military, which hopes to use findings from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.
Wiens says breathing through his nose and being able to smell again are vast improvements. And the reaction of his young daughter was the best.
Wiens: She actually said, Daddy you're so handsome. The injury didn't phase her and the transplant didn't phase her. To her, I'm still Daddy. And that in itself is an amazing thing.
Wiens says there are no words to express the debt of gratitude he owes the donor's family. The 26 year old says he wants to be the best father he can be, and be able to provide for his daughter. He says he'd like to go to college.