Man with first U.S. face transplant marries fellow burn victim

Posted at 8:31 AM, Apr 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-01 08:31:03-04


By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) — Horrific events brought them together.

He was the first person to undergo a full face transplant in the United States after an electrical accident left him without a nose, eyes or lips.

She suffered burns on more than 70% of her body after a car crash.

After meeting in a hospital support group for burn victims, Dallas Wiens and Jamie Nash got married on Saturday, CNN affiliate WFAA reported.

“I am Dallas’ eyes while he has my heart,” Nash said in a recent online post about their relationship.

Wiens, 27, was injured in 2008 when he was volunteering at his church and his head got too close to a high-voltage power line.

He lost almost his entire face from the burns.

In 2011, doctors at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital gave him a new one.

In a 15-hour procedure, doctors used donated tissue to give Wiens a donor forehead, nasal structure, nose, lips and facial skin. They also transplanted underlying muscles and nerves that will allow Wiens to have sensation and movement in his face.

The historic surgery marked a dramatic recovery for a man that had been kept in a medically induced coma for 90 days. Some people hadn’t expected him to make it out of intensive care.

Nash endured a similar struggle.

She was texting while driving when her car crashed in 2010. Flames burned her arms to the bone and severed her Achilles tendon.

Doctors kept her in an induced coma for 10 weeks. She underwent more than two dozen surgeries.

Now, Nash has created a nonprofit, the Jamie Nash TXT L8R Foundation, to tell her story and warn people against texting while driving.

On the foundation’s website, she described her growing romance with Wiens.

“I would truly feel lost without him by my side,” she wrote last year. “Our love is deep and strong, and together we will achieve greatness.”

According to WFAA, they plan to share their wedding footage in a reality show about people who survive tragedies and go on to help others.

CNN’s Elizabeth Landau contributed to this report.