-- Richard Lee Norris returning to normal life after 15 years as recluse
BALTIMORE, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland released details today on the recovery of Richard Lee Norris, the 37-year-old man who received the most extensive full face transplant completed to date seven months ago. Norris, of Hillsville, Virginia, was injured in a 1997 gun accident, losing much of his upper and lower jaws as well as his lips and nose. The transplant surgery, completed on March 20, 2012 at the University of Maryland Medical Center, included replacement of both jaws, teeth, tongue, and skin and underlying nerve and muscle tissue from scalp to neck.
"For the past 15 years I lived as a recluse hiding behind a surgical mask and doing most of my shopping at night when less people were around," says Norris. "I can now go out and not get the stares and have to hear comments that people would make. People used to stare at me because of my disfigurement. Now they can stare at me in amazement and in the transformation I have taken. I am now able to walk past people and no one even gives me a second look. My friends have moved on with their lives, starting families and careers. I can now start working on the new life given back to me."
"I am doing well. I spend a lot of my time fishing and working on my golf game. I am also enjoying time with my family and friends," says Norris. "I do still have follow-up appointments with a lot of different doctors and therapists to ensure everything is healing up properly. I have been undergoing physical therapy and also speech therapy. I have been doing very well regaining my speech back. Each day it improves a little more."
Norris continues to gain sensation in his face and is able to smile and show expression. His doctors say the motor function on the right side of his face is about 80 percent normal, and motor function on the left side is about 40 percent. He eats primarily by mouth and is able to smell and taste.
Norris' historic 36-hour full face transplant was led by Eduardo D. Rodriguez, M.D., D.D.S., professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of plastic, reconstructive and maxillofacial surgery at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Norris' surgery marked the first time in the world that a face transplant was performed by a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons with specialized training and expertise in craniofacial surgery and reconstructive microsurgery.
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center & R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center
Founded in 1807, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore is the oldest public medical school in the United States, and the first to institute a residency training program. The School of Medicine was the founding school of the University of Maryland and today is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. The partnership between the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and the University of Maryland School of Medicine allows cutting edge medical research and discovery to rapidly innovate and improve patient care and prepare the next generation of health care professionals through excellent training and education.
The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) is a 779-bed teaching hospital in Baltimore and the flagship institution of the 11-hospital University of Maryland Medical System. Patients are referred nationally and regionally for advanced medical, surgical and critical care. All physicians on staff at the Medical Center are faculty physicians of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center is the nation's first coordinated trauma system and is dedicated to multidisciplinary research and treatment of critical injury and illness. Shock Trauma is where the "golden hour" concept in critical care medicine was born. Under the direction of Thomas M. Scalea, M.D, Shock Trauma treats more than 8,000 trauma and critical care patients each year and trains trauma providers from around the world including U.S. military medical professionals.
SOURCE University of Maryland Medical Center