Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Craig Coleman, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-F, ASHA-F
EU alumna Matina Balou recently played a major part in one of the most remarkable surgical procedures ever conducted.
Balou, a native of Greece and a 2008 graduate of EU’s M.A. program in Speech Language Pathology, worked pre-operatively and for 300 hours post-operatively with Pat Hardison, recipient of a full facial transplant, to restore his ability to swallow, speak and re-animate his facial features.
Hardison, a volunteer firefighter from Senatobia, Mississippi, was severely burned while responding to a house fire in 2001 and left unrecognizable by his injuries.
Balou, who went on from EU to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, has been on the staff at NYU-Langine Medical Center, which conducted the procedure, for the past several years. Dr. Balou was a presenter at EU's 2012 Annual Speech-Language Pathology Alumni Conference, where she addressed dysphagia in patients with head and neck cancer.
She is seen above, fourth from left in the first row, with the full medical team at NYU who contributed their expertise to the facial transplant procedure. “I thank Dr. Roy Shinn [department chair] and the department for providing excellent education and invaluable opportunities to your students,” she said.
ABC News recently presented a full report on the incredible procedure and Hardison’s life before, throughout and after the surgery. Learn more about his life-changing operation and recovery, as well as the brilliant medical team of which Dr. Balou is part that made it all possible, and see clips from the segment here.