BOSTON (CBS) – Surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have given a soldier from Indiana a new face.

30-year-old Army Private Mitch Hunter of Indianapolis was left severely disfigured after saving a woman’s life during a car accident ten years ago. He pushed a live wire off her and suffered a severe shock. It left him with a severely scarred face, a prosthetic nose and leg.

Watch video:

soldier1 Soldier Gets Full Face Transplant At Brigham And Women’s

Army Private Mitch Hunter before his accident.

A team of more than 30 physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists and residents worked for more than 14 hours to replace Hunter’s face last week.

The hospital made the first public announcement about the surgery Tuesday morning.

“I am very grateful to the entire transplant team for working so well together, ensuring that Mitch’s procedure went smoothly and putting him on course for a successful recovery and new life,” lead surgeon Dr. Bohdan Pomahac said in a statement.

The donor family wants to remain anonymous, but they did issue a statement through the hospital.

“We are very proud that our beloved son’s wishes were to donate his organs and tissue, helping as many people as possible. We are honored to respect his wishes. When we heard that there was a match for his facial tissue, we were overwhelmed and did not hesitate to say yes. We are so very happy that the transplant is progressing well. It is a gift to us to know that another young man’s life could be so positively changed because of our son’s giving spirit. Though we grieve our loss, we are also joyful that his passing has made this miracle possible.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

This is the third face transplant performed at the Brigham and the fourth in the country.

Brigham and Women’s is one of only two hospitals in the nation approved to perform the procedure.

Comments (43)
  1. emom says:

    I am amazed at the progress in medical triumps. To think this kind of transplant has become possible,, we make strides in the medical field every day.. Best of luck to this young man, He has a new life ahead of him…

  2. Bill says:

    Great story about our younger generation…..But of course the beating in McDonalds will get ALL the news coverage….what a world….Best Wishes to all involved and thanks for the uplifting story….

    1. eveready says:


  3. Realityblowz says:

    That there is the face of a courageous hero. What a great guy! Best of luck to him and the surgical staff.

  4. guest says:

    On private insurance without the affordable health care act (you call it nobamacare), having no face would be considered a pre-existing condition, and would not be covered.

    Given the fact that this guy is a soldier, he is probably on a “government run” system of military health care.

    1. You people make me sad. says:

      Actually the vast majority of medical research and development comes out of the USA. Although there are extensive gov grants to support this system the Doctors that conduct the research could only have come into being in a free market environment. Socialized medicine and the “so called” insurance reform would and will stifle this sort of ground breaking technology.
      Perhaps tort reform, judge accountability and a reduction in frivolous lawsuits is the answer to reducing health care coverage; as currently doctors are required to maintain astronomical levels of insurance thereby inflating the price of medical procedures.
      With the over regulation of Doctor, Hospital and Insurer profits we will see the destruction of the best and brightest healthcare system in the world. Consequently we will also lose what fleeting personal liberties we as Americans still maintain.

    2. shredder says:

      That was an ignorant and unsubstantiated conclusion that you have drawn. Any ‘benefit’ (LOL) of No-bama Care has not even gone into effect. Only the taxation and collection of fees has.

    3. Seraphim0 says:

      Over-regulation? Because they aren’t commiting fraud on massive scales already with what ‘little’ regulation they currently have. I’m not against doctors,but working in an insurance company, I have to tell you… some providers are far, far more concerned with their bottom line than they are with the wellbeing of their patients. Maybe some regulation will shove them in order.
      You wouldn’t believe how many providers get put on ‘watch’ on a daily basis for questionable billing practices or procedures.

      You want to blame it on the insurance they have to carry- blame it on the sue-happy society we have created.

    4. Bryan says:

      you are incorrect Guest.

      Pre-existing conditions occur when an individual is not insured, becomes sick/gets injured/ needs medical care and then gets insurance. The new insurance will not cover the pre-existing condition.

      Why is this you ask?

      Well it’s simple. Insurance is where one party (the carrier) agrees to absorb the risk (key word) of another party in exchange for an agreed upon fee.

      When someone buys insurance after an incident has occured, the Risk is replaced by a guaranteed cost. The carrier will not agree to pay this guaranteed cost and thus it is labled a “pre-existing condition”

      So you are incorrect. If Mitch had insurance, which i’m assuming he did because he was in the military. it would NOT be a pre existing condition. please stop trying to spread the lies of obama care.

  5. Steve says:

    The purpose of Obamacare is to come close as possible to driving the private health industry out of business.

    1. bigjet says:

      Not close as possible but completely out of business.

      1. Jennifer says:

        Anyone for Obamacare has to be a complete imbecile. It IS going to destroy this country. The lazy fools who think Obamacare is going to solve all of their problems, are in for a VERY RUDE AWAKENING! We will see how they feel about it when they are turned down for procedures because they aren’t deemed “worthy” enough for that kind of money to be spent on them!

      2. Xesenta says:

        that’d be NICE! ;)

  6. G. Gests says:

    Actually the groundbreaking work on facial reconstruction was made in India, France, UK and Spain. All countries with public health systems that make Obama’s ideas sound tame.

    1. Jason says:

      And most of the transplants were done free of charge. Therefore, faulty logic on the part of those defending govt-run healthcare.

    2. bigjet says:

      Not public it’s government. Get it right.

  7. studakota says:

    This is the kind of story that makes one stand up and shout Hooray. Best of life to you young man . Thanks to the donors, you could have simply said “I don’t think” so.

  8. Jayne says:

    It had nothing to do with Israel. Are you a Israel hater????

    The guy is a hero for saving the life of a woman, but what else would you expect from our brave American troops.

  9. shredder says:

    Moron! The injury resulted from the unselfish act of a good Samaritan. You probably know nothing of that, either.

  10. Jason says:

    Hank Warren–you are a fine anti-Semite. You will rot forever in Hell.

  11. wncchester says:

    “That was an ignorant and unsubstantiated conclusion (on BO-Kare) that you have drawn.”

    BS; its provision’s are entirely limited to raising costs to most and limiting care to all. There is NOTHING in it to improve care OR medical technology nor has it been presented to do otherwise. If it was so great, the WH would not have already granted over 1,000 exenptions to Dem supporters.

    So, IF anyone can think, it’s clear that we REALLY don’t have to wait for another day to gage it’s coming effects. It’s not working in Mass and it won’t work for the rest of us. But costs WILL go uo while benefits will go down and THAT’S A FACT!

    1. Seraphim0 says:

      As much as I disagree with the healthcare reform, I disagree with your “limiting care” comment. Nothing in the HC Reform packages limits care. Nothing. If anything, care is expanded- especially to cover pre-existing conditions and the like.

      Quite a few countries are enjoying such a healthcare system- and it works. The real problem with doctor’s fees is the entire compensation structure forces them to charge inexorbant amounts of money for procedures. Too much focus is on thebottom line and not on the patient.

      Regardless, I don’t agree with the requirement for all citizens (I would never be without, but that should be a choice- not a mandate by thegovernment), but the benefits will be there- unless you believe in the ‘death panels’ that some mouthpieces falsely proclaimed.

      Wncchester- dealing with such unproven absolutes only makes you appear less credible. If you want to complain about this president not encouraging innovation, you might want to take another look at some of the race to the top initiatives.

      1. student1776 says:

        Do you really think you can cut $500B out of medicare without limiting care?

  12. rmsbl4 says:

    I wonder how long it will be before they start implanting phones in peoples heads so that all these people that think they are CEO’s won’t have to carry a fhome. Just think hands free.

  13. shannon says:

    The sad thing I see here is that you are all so focused on the negatives. What about what this soldier did, saving that woman? What about the young man that donated his face? And that young man’s family? They are heros. All of them were willing to give so selflessly and shoudl serve as an example to all of us.

    Additionally, it is AMAZING that this type of transplant is possible!

    The state of healthcare in this country is very important and many of you have some good and valid points. However, I think the point of the story is being overlooked in many of the comments.

  14. a says:

    I’m sorry to read that some people on this page have seen fit to politicize this man’s fine deed. I suspect many of these same people would not have the courage to do what this man did. He is a fine
    American, and I can’t say the same about those of you with the negative political comments.

  15. Michele says:

    My heart goes out to the donor family, at their time of loss. My prayers also to this fine soldier, and his loved ones, that he may have a speedy recovery, and a long and happy life. It is so heartwarming to read of such selfless people. God Bless all of you.

  16. sarah says:

    I personally think being a soldier myself this was a very selfless act for the soldier. To the people that knock that get off your high horse it takes a lot to leave your friends and family knowing you may never come back. Its sad that the pro football players make thousands more than we do but yet are backed 100% of the way. Way to go them all the do is run tackle and catch a ball fantastic. Well this is a prime example of a military man being disfigured by war to save someone but hell let’s talk about the game instead its more “justified” what an effed up way of thinking america

  17. karen s says:

    congratulations mitch hunter. live long and well. bravo to the fine medical team that made this fine young man’s regaining part of his life possible. certainly our hearts go out to the donor and his family for their selfless gift.

  18. allourfault says:

    This guy is an absolute bad*ass and a HERO!
    and all you pr*cks can come up with is politics.
    get over yourselves…..

  19. Mary says:

    God Bless You Mitch Hunter,and the Medical team that performed the surgery,, and for the donor , God Bless your family,, it’s people like you that make our world a better place ,, and for all these people who have said so many things , this is sad that this young man went 10 yrs with this, and he save a womens life , thank God for the donor .. live on mitch you deserve it just as any one would.. but you have the courage to go thru it and have it done ,, don’t let anyone put you down Mitch .. May God Bless and i pray for a speed recovery for you..

  20. kk says:

    This is about two heroes. All the other BS could be discussed elsewhere. Many praises for both young men.

  21. Cato says:

    Though nothing can change the tragedy of one family, from it springs new hope for the most deserving of heroes, a man who nearly lost his life to protect another. It is nothing short of amazing that this is even possible, the product of both the herculean efforts of these doctors and the selflessness of a young man gone before his time. This is humanity at its best, in every regard, and it is only to our larger detriment that a story such as this will get so little notice among the killings and pettiness that dominate the front page these days.

    To Pvt. Hunter, I wish a speedy recovery and a return to normalcy Your bravery and selflessness is exemplary of all who wear the uniform of our Armed Forces. To the family of the donor, may the knowledge that your son’s gift helped to rebuild the life of a genuine hero temper the anguish of a life lost, as his actions from beyond this mortal coil attest, far too soon. To the medical staff who made this possible, we of lesser skill will remain in awe of your work for a very long time to come. Keep up the good work.

  22. John Svengali says:

    I was reading the miserable news today about the economy, the never-ending political acrimony, and felt so negative. But when I read this story and realized the selflessness of everyone in this situation, it embraced for me a vestige of humanity not yet enveloped by cynicism.

  23. Indyishome says:

    Mitch is a hero as is the donor and his family, this article is not about politics this is about a man who saved someone and nearly lost his life yet became disfigured, I do not know Mitch personally but I do have friends that do, and he is a humble man who is honored to have this chance to improve his life. He has touched many people hearts and will continue to do so. You ROCK Mitch, praying for a speedy recovery my hero

  24. tex says:

    go Mitch!! hope you heal up quickly. you are a true hero – on many levels. Go Army! hugs to you …

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