Recovering face-transplant recipient in front of cameras, again

Turkey's first ever full-face transplant patient, Uğur Acar, poses for cameras on Feb. 22, 2012 with his doctor Ömer Özkan (R) and Akdeniz University Rector İsrafil Kurtcephe. (Photo: AA)

February 22, 2012, Wednesday/ 13:56:00

Turkey's first ever full-face transplant patient appeared before the cameras on Wednesday, 24 hours after his first press conference, in what is reportedly a result of a public relations conflict between doctors who performed the surgery and a private Turkish television.

According to the Turkish media, the hospital said Uğur Acar, who is still recovering from last month's surgery at Akdeniz University Hospital, would hold a press conference on Wednesday. However, NTV news channel, which interviewed Acar and his doctors over the weekend on the condition that they would broadcast the segment on Wednesday night, announced that they would be broadcasting the interview on Tuesday, one day before the promised time.

As a counter move, Acar's doctors reportedly hastily called a press conference to make sure that his first appearance before to the press took place in the company of the hospital's doctors. Acar spoke to reporters on Tuesday from the hospital where he is staying during his recovery.

The patient appeared before the media again on Wednesday morning for the scheduled press conference. He said he is happy with the surgery and that he hopes to appear before the press with a more “appropriate” face after a year. “I am now normal as I am still receiving treatment. But I am sure that I will be better than this,” he said.

Akdeniz University Rector İsrafil Kurtcephe offered Acar a job at the university during the press conference. “He had earlier said he could not find a job. I am offering him a job at Akdeniz University. He can work with us if he wants,” the rector said.

Acar, who suffered serious burns to his face during a house fire that occurred when he was just 40 days old, underwent a successful face transplant operation last month at Akdeniz University Hospital. The face transplant was made possible after the family of Ahmet Kaya, who had been declared brain dead, donated all of his organs.

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