The Boston Gazette $1.50 March 22, 2011 Brigham and Women’s Does it Again Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the most distinguished hospitals in Boston has accomplished something that was thought to be impossible. Bohdon Pomahac, a leading plastic surgeon in Boston and Poland has done America’s first full face transplant, and third overall in the world. Born in Czech Republic, growing up Bohdon Pomahac was an avid chess player, devoting over 40 hours a week to his hobby and even making it to the major chess league of the Czech Republic. Perhaps his commitment and attentiveness towards difficult tasks would follow him into adulthood. After finishing high school in Ostrave, Czech Republic, Pomahac decided to go into a career of medicine. He enrolled at the Palacky University of Olomouc Faculty of Medicine. During his 6 years in medical school, he went on an exchange trip to Boston which influenced him greatly, just has chess had, into picking surgery as his ensuing career. After finishing medical school, Pomahac immediately left for Boston. He was then employed at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and worked up to 120 hours a week. After doing a residency in general surgery, Bohdon Pomahac went into plastic surgery. He was admitted to the Harvard Integrated Plastic Surgery Program, there, he became Chief Resident of plastic surgery. Although face transplants were not his main center of research, by 2004 he became progressively more interested in in this subject and devoted much of his free time to it. Inducement came when he met Isabelle Dinoire, the first person to receive a full-face transplant in France. Pomahac was becoming increasingly interested in this matter, he met with a patient who had sought repeated surgery, and he told the doctor “I just want the cab to stop when I’m at a curb.” This sparked a passion for treating patients with severe face injuries. In 2007, Bohdon Pomahac became the head of the hospital’s burn unit. And also the head of the team specializing in face transplants. On April 9th of 2009, Pomahac performed the second partial face transplant in the United States (7th in the world) The operation was performed in 17 hours by a surgical team led by Bohdon Pomahac. They had replaced the nose, upper lip, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth of James Maki. A 59 year old male who was severely injured when he fell into the Boston Railway. After the success of this partial face transplant, the US defense department awarded the hospital with 3.4 million dollars. Enough to fund five face transplants. On March 22nd 2011, Bohdon Pomahac performed America’s first full face transplant. He performed it on a young man named Dallas Wiens who was injured by an electric shock that removed his face. Pomahac led a team of doctors and nurses and the operation was finished in 15 hours. They had replaced Wiens’ nose, face, facial skin and nerves that provide sensation. This shook the medical world. Face transplants are incredibly difficult as it is vital to find the right donor, they must be physically healthy but brain dead with no hope of recovering. It is important that the donor is on life support because the tissues must still be connected to a blood source. Doctor’s must try and find recipients with the similar age and skin tone. More importantly is the matching of the blood and tissue. A poor match will cause the patient to reject the donor’s new tissues. Once a face transplant is successful, the patient must take medication for the rest of his/her life to prevent tissue rejection. Medicine is truly amazing. Despite from not being able to cure cancer, is there anything modern medicine can’t do?