The homeless man who had 80 per cent of his face chewed off in a horrific attack along a busy Miami highway is now 'awake and alert', according to doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center.
A photograph shown to reporters today portrayed Ronald Poppo walking down a hospital hallway, supported by hospital staff on either side of him. The man had his left eye removed but doctors are hoping to restore vision in his right eye, which was also severely damaged in the attack.
He's pleased to report to all of you that he's feeling well, he's eating, he's walking around with physical therapy, he's talking with us,' said Nicholas Namias, a University of Miami trauma surgeon'
A photo released by the hospital shows the upper two-thirds of Poppo's face covered in scabs.
He's missing his nose and both eye sockets were covered, one with gauze and one with what appeared to be a skin graft.
His gray beard was trimmed, leaving a mustache over his upper lip. Doctors at the hospital said the homeless also has holes in his chest that may be from bullets fired by the police officer who killed his attacker.
Nicholas Namias, head of trauma, and Popp's physician, told the Miami Herald that Poppo had two 'mysterious' punctures in his chest.
Doctors added that the victim lost his left eye but are trying to save his right eye, which was severely damaged. Poppo also suffered a brain injury during the attack, like that suffered by a car crash victim, the Herald reported.
Despite these problems, the medical team said Poppo, who has been in the hospital since the attack on May 26, is doing much better.
He has talked about swimming, which he used to enjoy, and he has asked for pizza, orange juice and Italian food.
He's asked for the television to be switched off in his room, except when the Miami Heat basketball games are on, Namias said.
The doctor said Poppo has not once complained about his pain. 'He's really just sort of living in the moment and just wants to talk about routine things,' he said.
Mr Poppo will have to undergo a number of skin grafts to rebuild his face.