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tv   I Am Robert  BBC News  January 5, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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even today, a year later, easing in is still a process for me but i'm getting much to contain a surge in virus cases threatening to overwhelm the health systems. better than i was before. schools will be closed to most pupils, also non—essential retail and hospitality. borisjohnson has said the weeks ahead will be the hardest yet, as a more infectious variant spreads robert's transplant surgery across the country. was over a year ago and due to the coronavirus donald trump and joe biden restrictions on are campaigning in georgia travel, we postponed his ahead of two crucial runoff in—person visits for a number votes for the senate of months. on tuesday. the democrats need to win both a year out, i think seats to gain control of the senate, giving them overall control of congress, robert is doing great. as well as the white house. the us justice department he is progressing well is to appeal against the uk from the transplant standpoint. court decision not to extradite i think for him, the biggest the wikilea ks founder, julian assange. issue is adjustment of his daily life to the new routine. thejudge said there was a real risk of suicide, in an american maximum security prison. the overarching problem that we are trying to julian assange is wanted on 18 avoid is rejection. charges relating to the release of half a million secret if a patient develops the rejection, the body essentially is trying government files. to get rid of tissues that it recognises at the given now on bbc news, robert chelsea was hit by a drunk time as foreign. driver, sustaining third—degree we need to open up burns on over half of his body. the eyes a bit, huh? in 2019 he became the first that would be better,
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african american recipient of a full—face transplant. wouldn't it? there are things we could do, just an average person surgically, to make things in the world is rear—ended by a drunk driver. better, but we don't have to. everything kind of sagged down and i said, ok, well, by gravity and by the fact mr chelsea, we need to leave now or we're both gonna die. that the new face is not they described exactly as strongly connected what happened with the accident and then i wasjust in shock. to the bone and i would have to open up the entire incision all around, he was burned to over so all the way around your 75% of his body. head, all the way down he was almost unrecognisable. to the neck, and then we would have to lift things up, and suspend them. this is completely elective, so it doesn't have to happen next month or tomorrow. reporter: 68-year-old robert chelsea is the first african—american and the oldest person to receive a full face transplant surgery. feeling all right? the nerves are reconnected but your brain is learning what we didn't really realise which ones are supposed to be controlled by what, what is what we were up and trying to differentiate against. movements with help
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of facial transplantation has a lot of risks. squeeze, relax. speech therapy will help. you will still be getting he's notjust going to have this procedure and everything's just going to be smooth sailing. better, there's another year that we know our patients are getting fairly dramatically better. and then at about two years from the surgery, it's good that african—american that's where it plateaus. patients that suffer from major robert is a unique man. he is very spiritual, facial deformities are aware thoughtful, he that there is an option really believes in for them. god's plan for him. we'll keep chatting, all right? i got a phone call and it says oh, we have your dad.
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hello. tuesday will be a cold day again with a persistent win for again with a persistent win for a few days yet bringing showers to parts of the country but for most of us it is rain. through the early hours we have rain and showers in the south—east of the country, the further north you are and across the hills it is more likely to be snow, sleet or snow. icy
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patches as well across northern and eastern parts of england and eastern parts of england and then tomorrow basically through the morning and the afternoon them further east you are the more likely you are to catch showers, some of them wintry, best of the weather we just got into the car will be in the west. scotland, and we rushed over there. they described exactly what happened with the accident and then i was just in shock. pembrokeshire, northern ireland, down to cornwall and devon. the weather looks decent yeah. with the temperatures struggling. three to four degrees briefly during the day. not a lot of change, it will stay till. —— jill.
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one thing i like about my dad is his love for the lord. i can really lean on that. the role of faith means everything to my godfather. we were thrilled and our prayers had been answered when he woke up, but what we didn't really realise is what we were up against. he was burned over 75% of his body, mostly upper body. he had lost his lips, a part of his nose, a part of his ear. he was almost unrecognisable. my godfather has since been through upwards to 40 surgeries. if it were me or somebody else, we would dwell on whether or not we were going to survive or dwell on how we would look. you know, he's the type of person who is always
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going to ask you how you're doing, even when he's sitting in pain. welcome to bbc news. my name's mike embley. our top stories: new national lockdowns in england and scotland as a surge in cases of the new coronavirus variant threatens to overwhelm the health systems. france speeds up its vaccination programme after a sluggish start draws an angry rebuke from president macron. back on the campaign trail, president trump and joe biden hold rallies in georgia ahead of runoffs that'll decide which party controls the senate. the us says it'll appeal against the uk's refusal to extraditejulian assange — a judge in london says the wikilea ks founder is at risk of suicide.
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we then had to wait almost two years before we received a donor. he said, we're not going to accept the donor, and i said what, wait? let's talk about this. it was quite significant when you think about how he was going to look afterwards.
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there's a serious lack of donors in the black community and minority communities as it relates to the need. my godfather had to be prepared, packed and ready to fly to boston from los angeles the next morning.
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you had this whole accident and then now all of a sudden you have a whole facial transplant and go through a whole nother situation. why are you doing it? how's my friend? hanging in there, you doing good? good to see you, too, you look good. feeling all right?
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i realise he's doing it for health purposes. now i'm like, ok, i kind of see the benefits of it. so happy for you. the fundamental principle of facial transplant is we recover organ ‘ in our case it's the face — then we package it and cool it down so that it doesn't require as much energy when it doesn't have blood flow, and literally bring it to robert whose old scarred face is partially removed. some of the things are left behind, remaining structure of the nose, for example, remnants of lips that he had, and then the new face is essentially brought and gradually connected, the nerves, the vessels, the arteries, everything. i'm doing good, i'll be better in about 15 hours. could be 24, so i don't know. so many logistical things that we'll have to figure out.
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laughter. thank you. we're not going anywhere. so what we'll do is we'll probably be able to get the scalp somewhere all the way up here, maybe even a little bit back. in this case, the donor was in another state so it required flying to recover him back. the deciding factor, how far we can travel and where the donor can be from is the time that we have between when the bloodflow through the tissue to the time when it's re—established. facial transplantation has a lot of risks. the ideal scenario is we come with the donor face and robert would be on the table with everything ready to go so the vessels would be prepared, all the nerves would be prepared. all the structures are essentially ready to be connected.
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welcome. we all know about disparities in health and health delivery and it's good that african—american patients that suffer from major facial deformities are aware that there is an option for them. he came out and believe it or not he was already moving. there were already facial expressions. i really do see the same person. now, what looks really different is he has hair. it actually is funny because the next day you see the hairgrowing. it doesn't matter that it's on someone else, it just continues to do things that it does. it was probably one of the most amazing experiences i've ever seen.
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i saw the picture, but to see for the first time it's like, shocking, overwhelmed, and ijust started crying. and then i had to ease myself into it. it's like you can close your eyes and say, oh, my dad looks like this that's great, and has accident was like this and it made it look like this
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and as soon as you open your eyes, you're like, where is your dad? he's a different man. and that man, i don't know, i'd be like hey, how are you, like, make a regular conversation with him like i don't even know him. morning, robert!
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your temperatures a little bit high, isn't it? it's not too high but it is a low—grade temperature, 99.0. that's a lot for one day, too, right? one day at a time.
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all types of things are going on with this, he's a science experiment, and then all of a sudden you're wondering what is really wrong with him? is his face really worth it? ebony hasjust been amazing. both of her parents are ill, both are elderly, and she moves from one house to the other, splitting her week. having parents that are ill and being the only child is hard. but you have to know inside your heart, you are willing to sacrifice some of your life. they sacrificed for you, are you willing to sacrifice for them?
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i met robert through his tragic car accident where i pulled him from the car. ironically, that particular night, i was finishing a job and i left particularly early that day. i took a different route than i usually took and as i was coming over the offramp, i literally thought a missile came across the freeway, so i pulled forward, where i saw the explosion and the fire, pulled up to it
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and ran to the first vehicle. i noticed that it was fully engulfed in flames and i couldn't see anything inside so i ran to the other vehicle that was in front of it. saw the driver, passed out drunk. window was broken but i could smell the alcohol and he was snoring so i'm like, he's ok, so i went back to the other vehicle. then, that's when i saw robert chelsea, on fire, flailing around, screaming. i did pull him out, he fell on top of me, he said, "what happened?" i said, "a vehicle hit you." he said, robert's — this is one of the things that remains in my mind, robert's first words to me were, "how is the other driver?" "is he 0k?" and i said, "yes sir, he's fine." and i tried to get him to move and he screamed because his skin was completely melted and i've said, we need to leave now or we're both gonna die. then as soon as we got to my truck, his fuel tank exploded, the vehicle popped up in the air, about 16 feet in the air.
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there were actually marks on the top of the freeway wall from his tires. pretty traumatic for robert. robert, you want to say grace? i have been blessed to have been introduced to robert. robert and i have become very, very close friends. when do you have to go back? did it help? good. i've explained this to you before, but your faith gives me tremendous strength.
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yeah, it was receding but you had hair.
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it was joyful, i was very happy, and ijust, all the people around and just finally, i accomplished getting my high school diploma, even though i got late, i still you can never be too old to finish 00:22:22,044 --> 4294966103:13:29,430 getting your diploma.
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