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Dublin: 3°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Face chewing attack victim 'walking and talking'

Ronald Poppo, 65, suffered serious facial injuries in last month’s attack, including the loss of his nose and left eye.

Plastic surgeon Dr Wrood Kassira gestures to images of Ronald Poppo during a press conference on his condition.
Plastic surgeon Dr Wrood Kassira gestures to images of Ronald Poppo during a press conference on his condition.
Image: Wilfredo Lee/AP/Press Association Images

THE VICTIM OF A horrific face-chewing attack in Miami, Florida is walking and talking after receiving surgery for serious facial injuries sustained in the assault.

Late last month, police responding to emergency calls about a naked man chewing another man’s face on a busy highway ramp shot the attacker dead. One witness said he saw the man tearing at the victim’s face with his teeth and that he failed to stop after he was first shot by police.

Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man, has lost his left eye but surgeons are working to restore vision in the right eye. He will need more surgery before facial reconstruction options are considered.

Discussing his progress yesterday, trauma surgeon Nicholas Namias at the Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center said that Poppo wanted to tell the media that he is “feeling well, he’s eating, he’s walking around with physical therapy, he’s talking with us”.

Images released by the hospital show the top half of Poppo’s face covered in scabs, with an apparent skin graft covering his right eye and his left covered with a bandage. He is missing a nose.

The AP reports that social workers will try to find a residence for Poppo, who has been homeless for 30 years.

Wrood Kassira, a University of Miami plastic surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said that she has spoken to Poppo about his recovery and that he said he will take it one day at a time: “He’s very logical.”

The Jackson Memorial Foundation is currently raising funds to support Poppo’s recovery.

Undated Miami-Dade Police Dept booking image of Ronald Poppo which shows his appearance before the attack. (AP Photo/Miami-Dade Police Dept, File)

- Additional reporting by the AP

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