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Double Lung Transplant Man in Michigan Recovering

Michigan hospital authorities are heaving a sigh of relief. The much-awaited double lung transplant seems to have been successful.

The 50-year-old man, as yet unnamed, is stable at the moment, but it would be several weeks before doctors can say confidently he has come through safely.

It should have a most traumatic double lung transplant, for the surgeons that is. A team at University of Michigan Health was all keyed up Monday last to perform a double lung transplant on a man, critically ill with emphysema.

Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. As a result, ones body does not get the oxygen it needs. Emphysema makes it difficult to breathe. One can also have a chronic cough and have trouble breathing during exercise.The most common cause is cigarette smoking.

The Michigan patient was also a long time smoker. He had been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant since November.

On Monday when the mans chest had been cut open and his lungs exposed to the air in the operating room, came the report that the plane carrying precious organs meant for the man had crashed shortly after it took off.

Everything had to be closed up and an agonizing wait for news of availability of another set of organs began.

Fortunately by late Tuesday hospital authorities learnt another set was indeed coming. The operation was finally performed Thursday. The surgery lasted over seven hours.

"If he had not received a transplant in a timely fashion he would have died," said Dr. Andrew C. Chang, one of two doctors who led the surgical team.

The patient has not been told of the crash. "I'll tell him more when he can handle it," Chang said.

Chang said the man's condition is "significantly improved."

The patient's family, in a statement released by the health system, said it was deva
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