Cannibal attack victim talks about recovery
MIAMI (WSVN) -- The doctors and victim of a barbaric cannibal attack last Memorial Day weekend are speaking out about his remarkable recovery.
Ronald Poppo could have died on a Miami street when a man chewed off parts of his face last year. Poppo was taken to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, after he was attacked by Rudy Eugene on the MacArthur Causeway. Eugene was shot and killed by police while he chewed on Poppo's face.
Poppo ended up at the Ryder Trauma Center on May 26, 2012 and has since endured four surgeries, skin graphs and had one eye covered by skin from his forehead. Plastic Surgeon Dr. Kassira Mid said, "He had extensive trauma to his face. It was bad."
Poppo is currently living at the Perdue nursing home on the Jackson Health Campus, where doctors and nurses say he is making friends, picking up hobbies and making an incredible recovery.
Poppo's primary caretaker Pat Copalko said, "40 years ago he was in a band, so we thought to give him something that he liked to kinda help with his therapy, and he is just picking up the chords. He is starting over."
Poppo is not only learning how to play the guitar, he is also learning how to walk and get around as a blind man.
Doctors have said he is not pursuing cosmetic procedures as of now. "He's simple. He's older. He is blind, so he can't see what he looks like," said Plastic Surgeon Dr. Urmen Desai.
Mid said, "He can feel what's not there, and he has an idea, and we explain it to him every time we see him, but again he is just grateful."
Poppo has gained 50 pounds since he first arrived at the hospital, and he is now enjoying the simple things. "I'm showing thanks for considering helping me out," said Poppo.
Desai said, "He is spending time with the nurses at Perdue, and he is content with listening to the news and hearing how the Miami Heat are doing."
His caretaker said he holds no grudges against the man who did this. "The only thing that he always tells me is that, 'I am sure that, that man had a bad day that day,'" said R.N. Adolpha Sigue.
Doctors and staff said Poppo is welcome to stay at Perdue for as long as he likes. All of his expenses are being taken care of through Medicaid and through a personal fund that was set up for him, which currently holds about $100,000.
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