Extremely rare face and double hand transplant gives man new chance at life

The world’s first successful face and double-hand transplant is giving a 22-year-old New Jersey man a second chance at life.

News 12 Staff

Feb 5, 2021, 2:23 PM

Updated 1,260 days ago

Share:

The world’s first successful face and double-hand transplant is giving a 22-year-old New Jersey man a second chance at life.
It took one moment back in 2018 to change Joe DiMeo's life forever. “I was leaving a night shift at work, I fell asleep at the wheel and I swerved off the side of the road hit a curb and my car caught on fire and burned 80% of my body,” said DiMeo.
He survived that traumatic crash, but since then, he says nothing has been the same.
“I basically just laid around on the couch all day and just watch TV,” said DiMeo.
In August, he got a face and double hand transplant -- thanks to a surgical team from NYU Langone Health. Doctors say it’s the first successful combination transplant case of its kind in the world.
 “The first attempt in Paris, the patient actually died…the second attempt both hands failed at five days following the surgery,” said Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez.
Dr. Rodriguez and his team say they took on the challenge and successfully completed the 23-hour surgery.
“Before he couldn’t dress himself, he couldn’t feed himself, unfortunately, he was dependent on his parents as caretakers and that is no longer the case. He’s moving on. The advances that I have seen in the evolution of his functional return are truly remarkable,” said Dr. Rodriguez.
“I could play with my dog. I can actually feel his face and hold his face and pet him and I can feel his tongue licking my hand. It’s really nice to have that feeling,” said DiMeo.
DiMeo tells News 12 Dr. Rodriguez and his team changed his life.  He says he has plans to move out of his parent's home and wants to get back to work and driving.


More from News 12
4:14
Massive technology outage impacts LaGuardia Airport

Massive technology outage impacts LaGuardia Airport

1:28
Sunny skies and low humidity on Long Island

Sunny skies and low humidity on Long Island

3:31
Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world

Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world

1:48
Global technology outage impacts Long Island gas stations and businesses

Global technology outage impacts Long Island gas stations and businesses

5:00
Tech expert weighs in on Microsoft outage impacts across the globe

Tech expert weighs in on Microsoft outage impacts across the globe

Northwell Health activates emergency operations center amid technology outage, NYU Langone remains open

Northwell Health activates emergency operations center amid technology outage, NYU Langone remains open

Prosecutors: Bellport woman indicted for alleged hit-and-run crash that killed volunteer firefighter

Prosecutors: Bellport woman indicted for alleged hit-and-run crash that killed volunteer firefighter

2:27
Food Truck Friday: Roxy's Ice Cream Truck

Food Truck Friday: Roxy's Ice Cream Truck

2:27
Suffolk man faces hate crime charges, accused of ramming car with 4 Muslim men in it

Suffolk man faces hate crime charges, accused of ramming car with 4 Muslim men in it

13:51
'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

'I’m not supposed to be here tonight.' Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt

0:22
Detectives: Man shot and killed his dog after it attacked him at Christopher Morley Park

Detectives: Man shot and killed his dog after it attacked him at Christopher Morley Park

0:13
Town of Hempstead: Shark spotted at Hewlett Point Beach

Town of Hempstead: Shark spotted at Hewlett Point Beach

2:01
Great South Bay Music Festival kicks off in Patchogue

Great South Bay Music Festival kicks off in Patchogue

0:38
Resilient North Babylon HS grad gets 5-figure donation from restaurant’s grand opening earnings

Resilient North Babylon HS grad gets 5-figure donation from restaurant’s grand opening earnings

1:56
Nassau County board recommends Nassau Hub lease transfer to Sands

Nassau County board recommends Nassau Hub lease transfer to Sands

2:05
LI voters call for help with affordability and cost of living in Trump RNC speech

LI voters call for help with affordability and cost of living in Trump RNC speech

1:35
Jericho lawyer wins Optimum's Small Business Boost Sweepstakes

Jericho lawyer wins Optimum's Small Business Boost Sweepstakes

0:17
2 East Northport men accused of selling cocaine out of their home

2 East Northport men accused of selling cocaine out of their home

1:56
Future health care workers shadow doctors at LIJ Valley Stream Hospital

Future health care workers shadow doctors at LIJ Valley Stream Hospital

0:22
Police: 54-year-old man fatally struck by car in Brentwood

Police: 54-year-old man fatally struck by car in Brentwood