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Surgeons miraculously rebuild victims' faces after Bethnal Green hammer attack

PUBLISHED: 18:00 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:32 05 October 2010

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BROTHERS who began 2010 in hospital after a horrific hammer attack have undergone radical facial reconstruction surgery to heal their horrendous injuries. Anyone who did not know what happened to Thomas and David Barry on New Year s Eve would not believe

BROTHERS who began 2010 in hospital after a horrific hammer attack have undergone radical facial reconstruction surgery to heal their horrendous injuries.

Anyone who did not know what happened to Thomas and David Barry on New Year's Eve would not believe the ordeal they have been through over the last few weeks.

Both brothers were hit with hammers by a gang of up to 30 youths during the attack near the Angel and Crown pub in Roman Road, Bethnal Green, knocking them both unconscious and leaving them needing expert surgery to rebuild their faces.

But less than three weeks after their surgery, the signs of both the attack and their operations have almost completely vanished thanks to the specialist maxillofacial surgical team at the Royal London Hospital.

The injuries of younger brother David, 41, were so severe that half of his face was caved in with a broken cheekbone, broken jaw in six places, broken palate and broken teeth.

Experts at the hospital in Whitechapel, led by consultant surgeon Simon Holmes, worked for four-and-a-half hours to rebuild the right side of his face, fixing titanium plates to his bone with 25 nuts and bolts.

David said: "The roof of my mouth was split in half so the right side of my face had dropped and my eyes weren't level. Half of my teeth were in the normal place and the other half were about an inch lower.

"They went in through the inside of my mouth and popped my eye out of its socket so they could fit the plates in my cheek; it's amazing what they can do.

"And I've been left with absolutely no scarring because it was all done from inside."

But David, a communications engineer who lives in Ilford, said the repercussions of the attack will stay with him for life and doctors do not yet know the extent of the permanent damage done.

"I've got no feeling in the right side of my face," he explained. "The nerves were so badly damaged that I'm never going to get it back and I'll have to live with it forever.

"My eyes are still slightly out of alignment and because of that my hand-eye coordination has gone out the window.

"I don't know how that'd going to affect my ability to do my job yet; I work with very fine wires so hand-eye coordination is very important."

Brother Thomas, 45, a French polisher who lives in Arbery Road, Bow with his wife Bridget and son Christopher, was hit once in the face and three times over the head with a hammer during the attack.

He also underwent surgery by Mr Holmes at the Royal London for a shattered eye socket.

He said: "They made an incision in my hairline and basically tyre levered my eye socket back out."

Both brothers are due to take part in a Channel 4 documentary about the work of the

Maxillofacial department at the Royal London Hospital.


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