Wednesday, 13 June 2012

First pictures of Miami cannibal face-eating attack victim Ronald Poppo show painful recovery

REUTERS/Jackson Memorial Hospital/Handout
Hospital officials released the first images of Ronald Poppo, the 65-year-old homeless man who was the victim of a gruesome face-eating attack in Miami last month, as doctors said he is temporarily blind but recovering well.The pictures show the devastation that occurred to Poppo’s face when he was attacked by Rudy Eugene, 31, who was still biting Poppo when police shot and killed Eugene.One picture shows Poppo’s face covered in scabs, most of his nose gone as well as both of his eyebrows and his eyes covered, one by gauze and the other by a skin flap.The second picture (above) shows him walking with the assistance of hospital staff.“He’s had quite a bit of surgery,” said Dr. Nicholas Namias, a trauma surgeon at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. “He’s feeling well. He’s eating. He’s walking around.”Poppo gave doctors permission to talk about his case for the first time since the May 26th attack.Doctors say their patient is in good spirits, as he has taken an interest in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and has said “Go Heat!”

When Poppo arrived at the hospital, “you couldn’t really make out his identity or what his facial features were,” Dr. Wrood Kassira, a University of Miami plastic surgeon on the medical team treating him, said.Even weeks later, “when he smiles, it’s hard to see who he really is.”The attack has left Poppo blind in at least one eye and at risk of losing all of his vision.His “left eye was essentially destroyed and needed to be removed,” said Kassira. “We’re hoping that in the future there may be some hope of some kind of vision but it’s unclear if he’ll recover any of it.”Poppo also suffered a brain injury in the attack and was treated for two puncture wounds in his chest that doctors said could have been from a bullet.He has undergone three surgeries since the attack.College-educated and from New York originally, Poppo has lived on the streets of Miami for years.Doctors said no family have visited him in hospital.He will need several more weeks in hospital and where he will be moved to afterwards, depends on his medical condition at that time.


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