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Oct 3, 2013 2:47 PM by NBC Latino

Hispanic Innovator: Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez

(NBCLatino.com) Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez made history last year when he performed the most extensive face transplant in history.

His patient was Richard Norris, a man who spent fifteen years covering his face with masks and leaving his home in the dark to avoid stares.

But in 2005, Dr. Rodriguez, a plastic surgeon at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland, came into Norris' life. After years of research, in 2011, Dr. Rodriguez performed the ground-breaking 36-hour procedure that would not only give Norris a new lease on life, but would also give hope to researchers wanting to heal soldiers disfigured by wounds from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"It's the most comprehensive face transplant in medical history," Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, chief of plastic, reconstructive and maxillofacial surgery at the center, told NBC's Ann Curry in her special, "A Face in the Crowd."

Dr. Rodriguez talked to NBC Latino about the joy of helping patients get their lives back and how education changed his own life.

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