Ronald Poppo, Man Who Had His Face Eaten, Happy and Healthy a Year Later

Ronald Poppo, the homeless man who had his face chewed off last year when a man attacked him in Florida, is now happier than he was a year ago.

Poppo, 66, is blind, after having lost both eyes, his nose and the surrounding skin after a naked man attacked him alongside a highway for no apparent reason.

The man was suspected to be high on bath salts, but a toxicology report found only marijuana in his system. Police ended the attack when they shot and killed him.

Poppo now lives at Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center in Miami, and has gained more than 50 pounds since he first came.

Though he is mostly healed, he is still receiving therapy to learn how to dress himself, feed himself, shower and shave after he lost his sight.

A video posted by the hospital on Tuesday showed Poppo with a hollow left eye socket, a blinded right eye covered by a skin graft, and his nose reduced to just nostrils. 

While it would be understandable if he were depressed or upset over the incident and the losing of his sight, he said he is grateful and does not blame the man who attacked him.

"People in my predicament need to be helped out, and I'm sure there's other people also that have the same type of predicament. I thank the outpouring of people contributing, I'll always be grateful for that," Poppo said. 

He could get facial reconstruction surgery, but is not interested in it.

"There's still work that can be done, but he's more than happy with how he is now, and he's quite grateful," Dr. Wrood Kassira said. 

"To put him through a lifetime of immunosuppression is not something he nor us think is in his best interest."

The nurse manager at Jackson Memorial Perdue said Poppo just believes his attacker had a bad day.

"The only thing that he always tells me is that, 'I'm sure that that man had a bad day that day,'" Sigue said. 

The staff at the hospital wants him to get out and exercise more, but Eugene refuses to leave his room because of his face. He has also not allowed any visitors, except for doctors, nurses and therapists. The only family member he is in touch with is his sister.

"He doesn't wander out of his room very often," nursing assistant Patricia Copalko said. "He needs to get out and he has refused. But also, I get it. He says, 'My face.'"

Poppo is allowed to stay at the center indefinitely. He is covered by Medicaid and a Jackson Memorial Foundation fund has raised $100,000 for his medical expenses. 

Sources: NY Daily News, CBS


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