Woman awaiting transplant lives for six days without her lungs

“It was a hard discussion because when we’re talking about something that had never to our knowledge been done before, there were a lot of unknowns”, Dr. Niall Ferguson of the University Health Network said in a news conference, according to the report.
Benoit, who was born with cystic fibrosis, came down with the flu previous year and was rushed to Toronto General Hospital’s intensive care unit in April 2016.The Canadian nurse remained on life support for six days until the doctors were able to find viable lungs.In mid-April, a team of 13 began a nine-hour surgery to remove Benoit’s lungs.Doctors had been contemplating the removal of lungs in a drastic approach to save patients like Benoit, but had never attempted it before.”We needed this chance”, Chris said.Doctors at the hospital had proposed removing both her lungs – the source of her infection – to prevent her condition from worsening.Surgeon Dr Shaf Keshavjee said: “We had to make a decision because Melissa was going to die that night”.

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The risks included bleeding into an empty chest cavity, whether her blood pressure and oxygen levels could be supported afterwards and whether she would survive the operation.In what has been hailed as a medical first, 32-year-old Melissa Benoit had both of her lungs taken out, and lived without them for nearly a week until she could get a transplant.But within hours, Benoit’s condition improved dramatically. Benoit was being kept alive by two machines: A Novalung to take the place of the lungs in infusing blood with oxygen while removing carbon dioxide, and an ECMO machine, to help her heart pump blood through her body. Then, last February, a bout of swine flu sent her spiralling toward death.On a ventilator and in an induced coma, the mother of a three-year-old daughter had been unaware of how close she had come to dying or what doctors had done to save her life. Her lungs were inflamed and began to fill with blood, pus and mucous, decreasing the amount of air entering her lungs.Melissa remains on kidney dialysis, but is now able to play with her young daughter “for whole days” without getting exhausted and his not needed a walker or cane for a month.”These are things that I want so badly in life”. She had to go through months of rehabilitation.The genetic disease damaged her kidney, but she is hoping to undergo a kidney transplant soon, it is likely the kidney will be donated by her mother.”For the first time in my life, I can actually say that I feel like I’m living, despite the little consequences of the surgery”. “I get to be home and it is the best feeling in the world”.