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Man whose face was bitten may go blind: doctors

13 june 2012, 14:45
Ronald Poppo in Miami. ©REUTERS/Handout
Ronald Poppo in Miami. ©REUTERS/Handout
A homeless man who almost died after a naked assailant repeatedly bit his face is recovering well but will likely go blind, AFP reports according to doctors.

Ronald Poppo was hospitalized in critical condition after the May 26 incident in Miami that some media reports have dubbed the "zombie" attack.

"He lost his left eye in the attack and his right eye is severely damaged and he may be blind," Nicholas Namias, head of trauma at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center told reporters at a news conference.

The 65-year-old also suffered a brain injury in the assault and had "two mysterious punctures in his chest," he added.

Authorities are still investigating the assault, which happened off a busy Miami highway and ended when police shot dead the assailant, 31-year-old Rudy Eugene.

Television footage and news photos showed the two men sprawled on a sidewalk side by side, with the victim barely conscious, covered in blood and up to 75 percent of his face ripped off.

Namias and other doctors also displayed several photographs of the victim, revealing Poppo's disfigured face with protruding cartilage.

The images also showed him walking with the help of hospital staff.

"He's pleased to report to all of you that he's feeling well, he's eating, he's walking around with physical therapy, he's talking with us," Namias said.

When asked about the unexplained chest punctures, the doctors indicated they may have been caused when police confronted the attacker.

Police have suggested Eugene was under the influence of "bath salts", a synthetic stimulant usually sold in shops selling drug paraphernelia which produces intense hallucinations and sparks erratic, violent behavior.

Those close to Eugene were particularly baffled and horrified by the bizarre incident. Last week, Eugene's girlfriend said she felt safe with him and that he read the Bible every day.

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