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Miami face-eating victim Ronald Poppo awake and talking, doctors say

Homeless man remembers the attack three and a half weeks ago and knows he's in the hospital.

Ronald poppo 2012 06 12Enlarge
This handout image provided by the Miami Dade Police Department shows Ronald Poppo, 65, the homeless man whose face was eaten off during Memorial Day weekend by a naked man who was shot by police. (Photo by Miami Beach Police Department via Getty Images) (Miami Beach Police Department/Getty Images)

Ronald Poppo, the homeless man whose face was nearly chewed off by a naked assailant in Miami, is awake and talking, but cannot see and will need more surgeries, doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital said Tuesday.

Poppo, 65, has been recovering at the hospital's Ryder Trauma Center since the May 26 attack along the MacArthur Causeway. His attacker, 31-year-old Rudy Eugene, was shot dead by police, Miami TV station WTVJ reported.

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"I'm very pleased to say Mr. Poppo is doing very well today," Ryder's Chief of Trauma Dr. Nicholas Namias said during a news conference. "He is eating, he is talking with us."

Namias said Poppo remembers the attack and has spoken with nurses about it but is coping well and is upbeat and pleasant. He is also getting help from mental health professionals and social workers, WTVJ reported.

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The hospital released two photos of Poppo, one showing him walking down the hospital corridor assisted by nurses and the other giving a first look at his injuries, The Huffington Post reported.

One of Poppo's eyes is covered by gauze in the photo. The other, gouged out in the attack, is covered by skin. Poppo's nose is missing, and his forehead is a mass of scabs. However, the lower half of Poppo's face, including a mustache, appears intact, according to The Huffington Post.

He suffered a brain injury during the attack, similar to that of a car accident victim, and is currently battling an infection, but otherwise doing well, the Miami Herald reported.

Doctors said Poppo was admitted with two mysterious puncture wounds in his chest that may be bullet wounds from the gun fired by the Miami police officer who killed Eugene, according to the Miami Herald.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120612/miami-face-eating-victim-ronald-poppo-awake-talking