David and Susan have enjoyed a long, happy marriage, and were thrilled to attend their son's wedding at the beach. But after returning home, David noticed something wasn't right. He was short of breath and had flu-like symptoms that he couldn't shake. Something was seriously wrong and his health kept getting worse.
Years before, David had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that leads to the accumulation of scar tissue in the lungs. When the scar tissue develops between the air spaces and blood stream, it makes it very hard for the body to absorb oxygen and create energy.
Now, as David's disease worsened, he was no longer able to get out of bed. His pulmonologist in Williamsport, Pennsylvania said there was nothing else they could do. He was close to death. David’s last chance at survival was a lung transplant.
The Search for Hope
Susan did extensive research looking for an experienced lung transplant program that would be able to follow and support them every step of the way. "I researched every transplant program from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. I wanted a place where there are a lot of transplants being done, an entire team that will stay with you through this whole thing," Susan remembers.
Susan's findings led them to the Penn Transplant Institute. Penn's Lung Transplant Program has helped over a thousand patients since the program's inception, having performed more than double the lung transplants than any other program in the region. In addition to patient survival rates that exceed national averages, every aspect of lung transplant care is organized under a team of transplant specialists that prioritize patient-centered care.
A Short Wait for a Longer Life
Susan and David soon met with Dr. Denis Hadjiliadis, a transplant pulmonologist in Penn Medicine's Lung Transplant Program. They met with the lung transplant team and David was placed on the transplant list. Within three days he received his transplant. The surgery went perfectly and David awoke to his son and wife sitting by his bedside.
Three weeks later, David was walking again, and today he is feeling better than ever. "If I hadn't gone where I did, when I did, I wouldn't be sitting here right now. I couldn't ask for anything better."
These days, David and Susan are enjoying their garden and their life together, made all the sweeter by the struggle they overcame. "We started to get some of our same life back, now with a whole lot more appreciation."
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