BOSTON (CBS) – A father’s life-changing surgery inspired him to confront his demons and mend his most important relationship. Seven years ago, Jim Maki fell face-first onto the third rail at the Ruggles MBTA stop.
In 2009, he had a face transplant.
That’s when the healing started for him and his daughter Jessica. Now, they’re celebrating a new connection to the place where doctors gave Jim a second chance.
Maki is the second person in the US to ever receive a full-face transplant. It was done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
While Jess was growing up, Jim was in and out of her life. The constant for him was drugs, and yet her feelings never changed.
“I adored my father,” says Jessica. “Every time I got to see him, I never wanted him to leave. So I definitely felt that something was missing.”
“Something had to happen,” says Jim. “And because of the surgery, it did happen.”
The surgery three years ago changed everything.
Jessica says, “I was just waiting for him to get back on his feet so we could begin again.”
“It’s a whole new life. New life experience, you know. I treasure it. Now Jessi and I talk virtually every day,” says Jim.
And at the same hospital where Dr Bo Pomahac and his team performed the face transplant, the father and daughter have a new connection.
“The Brigham has played such a big role in our life and completely changed our relationship,” says Jessica. “I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
Six months ago, Jess started working at Brigham and Women’s as a media specialist.
After so many years of missed memories, the relationship feels good again.
“Nothing even comes close,” says Jim.
Jim may be even happier later this year, because doctors are building him a full set of dental implants. Once he gets them, he says he and Jess will be going out for a steak dinner.