Ronald Poppo, South Florida man who suffered cannibalistic attack one year ago, thanks doctors, community

Ronald Poppo
CBS Miami
Ronald Poppo, right, was the victim of a "cannibalistic attack" in Miami during Memorial Day weekend, 2012.
CBS Miami

(CBS) MIAMI - On Tuesday, the doctors responsible for the care and recovery of Ronald Poppo, the South Florida man who fell victim to a cannibalistic attack almost one year ago, spoke publicly about his progress, CBS MIami reported.

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According to the station, Rudy Eugene, a homeless man, was walking across the Macarthur Causeway in Miami when he ran into Poppo. Eugene tore off the victim's clothes, bit the skin off the victim's face, and gouged his eye out, leaving Poppo blind.

The attack took place a year ago from this coming Memorial Day weekend and Poppo asked his doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital to hold a news conference about his progress, said CBS Miami.

"Mr. Poppo asked us to talk about him, to thank the community and the doctors for taking good care of him. He's had a long year but he's managed to cope quite well with what has happened to him," said Dr. Wrood Kassira. "I'd say he's content with where he is right now."

Kassira explained the recovery process, saying, "He had extensive trauma to his face. It was bad...We were able to close many of those wounds that were open, and cover the globe and do secondary reconstruction with grafting to other areas.""

Dr. Urmen Desai, one of Poppo's plastic surgeons, stated, "Some of the structural aspects of his nose continue to be missing but other than that he is doing quite well," said the station.

Poppo made a video to thank the public for its support, according to CBS Miami.

"I thank the outpouring of people in the community," said Poppo in the recording. "I just want to give thanks to the folks who helped me out. People who live in my predicament need to be helped out."

While there is still more that doctors can do to improve Poppo's appearance, he said that he does not want to undergo any more procedures, said the station.

"It took me a few months to realize that, 'Do we want to rebuild his nose and reconstruct his face for us or do we want to rebuild it for him?' He's not interested. He can't see what he looks like and its not important to him what he looks like," Dr. Desai said in the news conference, according to CBS Miami.

The station reported that the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind is helping Poppo adapt to being blind. He can now play guitar again.

Also according to the station, Poppo's treatment is fully funded by Medicaid and he is able to stay at the long term treatment facility for as long as he needs. In addition, he has $100,000 in a foundation fund developed by the local community.