Ronald Poppo, the 65-year-old Miami homeless man whose face was eaten during a vicious attack two weeks ago is “doing well, eating, walking around, and remembers the attack,” doctors said today as they updated the public for the first time on the victim’s condition.
Poppo gave permission for doctors to discuss his case with reporters but has had no visitors. Doctors described Poppo as upbeat despite significant portions of his face being destroyed and they said he’s beginning to remember the horrific and unprovoked attack on the streets of the city.
“When Poppo arrived you could not make out facial features,” said Dr. Nicolas Namias, chief of trauma at Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital. “Our primary goal was to close his wounds…[and] allow him to recover before undergoing more surgeries.”
Doctors say his left eye was destroyed. His right eye is still there but they covered it with a flap taken from skin from his forehead and scalp. He suffered a brain injury, similar to those experiences by those involved in car accidents, according to doctors. Both his ears remain intact.
“Fifty percent of his face is gone, and he is missing all the features that would make him recognizable,” said Dr. Wrood Kassira, Jackson chief of plastic surgery.
Surveillance video shows that for 18 agonizing minutes Poppo was disrobed from the waist down, kicked, punched and eaten alive before police shot Eugene four times. Poppo then sat up covered in blood as three paramedics quickly got him onto a stretcher, put a neck brace on him and rushed him to the emergency room.
Poppo, who once attended New York City’s elite Stuyvesant high School and dreamed of becoming president, will need months of reconstructive surgery that will cost thousands of dollars. A foundation set up in his name has raised $15,000.