Man who had first successful face and double hand transplant is back driving after horror accident
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A man who received the world's first successful face and double hand transplant in a driving accident is back behind the wheel.
Joseph DiMeo, from New Jersey, sustained horrific injuries after falling asleep whilst driving.
The 24-year-old's car flipped and crashed into a utility pole before bursting into flames during his drive back from a night shift in 2018.
As a result of the crash, DiMeo spent three months in a medically-induced coma with burns covering 80 percent of his body, including his eyelids and fingertips, which had to be amputated.
In 2020, he underwent 20 reconstructive plastic surgeries and spent 23 hours undergoing a face and double hand transplant - with a team of 140 surgeons, nurses and support staff successfully pulling off the surgery.
Now, five years after the incident, DiMeo says he's back driving.
Speaking to the Daily Star, he said: "I grew up watching Fast and Furious and then Paul Walker died in a burning car crash, so it's like, what a weird connection.
"I still have a lot of passion for cars and I still drive now.
"So I still drive, driving isn’t an issue.
"I only got to drive when I left my parents house as my parents don’t like me driving at all.
"So when I moved out, we went go-karting and thought, 'Well I’m ready to drive now'."
One would think that experiencing such a terrifying ordeal would have put him off driving entirely, but this wasn't the case for DiMeo.
DiMeo explained: "When I was burnt, I still wanted to drive. I wasn’t scared of driving at all.
"It was just that no one at the time would let me drive."
Three years after his life changing operation, DiMeo is still undergoing physical therapy to strengthen his new hands.
And one way that he does this is through constant LEGO building.
DiMeo said: "I'm building a LEGO car set from Fast and Furious.
"So that's a really big task for me because the car I'm building, a 1970 Dodge Charger from Fast and Furious with the engine popping out.
"So it's like that car takes someone like 30 minutes to an hour to build, but then for me, it takes a week to build.
"It's a big test for my fine motor skills."
Featured Image Credit: NYU Langone/Joe Dimeo
Topics: US News