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Transplant Patient Gets a New Lease of Life

The critical 50 year old patient at the University of Michigan Health System hospital got a new lease of life when he received a second set of lungs. The earlier double lung transplant operation was stopped because the plane carrying the donor lung crashed along with the doctors slated to perform the operations.

We are relieved that we were able to do this transplant and give this man another chance for life, Dr. Jeffrey Punch, director of the division of transplantation at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. Our friends that died in the crash would have wanted us to go on with our work.

"Had he not received a transplant in a timely fashion, he would have died likely," Dr. Andrew Chang, one of two doctors who led the surgical team, told a news conference Friday.

The patient already was prepped for surgery, with his chest cut open and his lungs exposed to the air in the operating room, when the plane crashed, killing six members of a Survival Flight team. The patient, a longtime smoker, needed the transplant because of a condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, the health system said. He had been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant since November.

In another hospital Dave Chrystal is waiting for a heart transplant to save his life. After six month his eager wait is over as he is to receive the heart of a 24 year old suicide victim.

In the US alone there are 96, 000 people who live through uncertainty as they wait for an organ donor, according to United Network for Organ Sharing. Even as technology improves, there is an acute shortage of donors.

A re-evaluation of organ donation procedures seeks to close the gap between donors and those seeking organs, but many doctors and hospital ethicists are concerned about issues surrounding an increasingly used procedure to curb the shortage called donation after cardiac death.

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