Woman Couldn’t Live With Her Lungs – so Doctors Removed Them in...

Woman Couldn’t Live With Her Lungs – so Doctors Removed Them in ‘World First’

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Melissa Benoit and Daughter-University Health Network

Melissa Benoit has lived with cystic fibrosis her whole life – and if it weren’t for a daring double-transplant procedure, the condition would have claimed her life.

The 33-year-old Canadian mother came down with influenza which led the bacteria in her lungs to spread throughout her body until she reportedly succumbed to septic shock, causing her organs to totally shut down despite life support systems.

As her condition worsened, doctors at the Toronto Lung Transplant Program conferred with the family and made a risky decision: they would remove the cause of the sepsis by removing her lungs altogether. There was only a one percent chance that the last-minute procedure would work.

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For six days, Melissa was kept alive with a device that was not intended to replace the lungs—only assist in oxygenating the blood. Doctors hoped they could stop the sepsis so that she might get strong enough to receive a new pair of lungs from an organ donor. The successful procedure is now being called a world-first.

“They pulled me back from the dead,” Benoit said as she thanked her family during a news conference on Wednesday. “Foremost I have to thank my donor and my donor’s family. Without them, whatever procedure the physicians would have performed would have been useless.”

Her recovery has been swift, and she is walking and playing with her child once again.

(WATCH the video below)

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(Photo by University Health Network)

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