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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Transforming a Life: Lung and Liver Transplantation at Penn Medicine

Richard is a Penn Medicine patient who received a double lung and liver transplant six years ago. Richard recently shared his transplant story and some photos with us.

I had a double lung transplant and liver transplant in 2005 at the Penn Transplant Institute. Emphysema, due to a genetic disease, had damaged both my lungs and liver I would get very short of breath doing simple things like climbing the stairs in my home, carrying a bag of groceries, or taking out the trash. After getting sick I couldn’t imagine ever shoveling snow or cutting my lawn again. I choose to become a transplant patient so that I could try to live a normal life.My transplant call came at about 7 pm on July 19, 2005, while I was resting after eating dinner. The lung transplant team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania said a potential donor had been found for my transplant. I got to the hospital around 8:30 that night and received my new lungs and liver the next day.

Seeking Success
After an organ transplant it’s important to keep to your rehabilitation schedule and make sure you follow up with lung clinic appointments. It’s especially important to understand and follow instructions from your doctor and the transplant team. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The team wants to help you stay healthy and is happy to answer any questions so you can have the best outcome from your transplant surgery.Receiving a lung/liver transplant totally transformed my life. Within five months after getting my new lungs I went back to my job as an electrical engineer. The first winter after my transplant I was able to shovel snow again while experiencing very little shortness of breath. I can now carry the trash out, do laundry and carry clean clothes up two flights of stairs. A few years ago I got a mountain bike and ride on local trails and bike paths. Now I can enjoy the outdoors, get exercise to stay fit and keep my new lungs healthy.

If you are interested in sharing your lung transplant story, please email Nancy Blumenthal, CRNP at nancy.blumenthal@uphs.upenn.edu.

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