500th Lung Transplant at Shands
It's the second time he's been given the gift of life. And the 500th time they've helped make it possible.
A man from Orlando received his second lung transplant at Shands Hospital in Gainesville two weeks ago. The transplant was the 500th performed at Shands, marking a triumph for both the patient and the transplant team.
68-year-old Bhowani Sharma had his first lung transplant at Shands in 2008 after suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis. But because of chronic organ rejection, he was in need of another lung. On December 29th, he got it. Bringing Shands Hospital to their 500th lung transplant in the process.
Sharma said, "It is unthinkable what he did." When he thinks about the gift he's been given, he is overwhelmed with gratitude. Sharma said, "Those people, who did this...they will enjoy a special place in heaven." Sharma said he is stronger this time around, feeling more completely healed just two weeks after surgery, than after the first transplant.
He said his wife of 42 years, Raj, is the reason he's alive and well today. Rajcoonarie Sharma said, "There's nothing like prayer...you pray and you just keep a positive mind. You just hope for the best."
Heart and Lung Transplant Surgical Director Dr. Edward Staples has performed almost all of the 500 transplants at Shands. He said Sharma's transplant reminds him of his very first patient back in 1994, who suffered from a similar disease and also underwent two transplants.
Staples said, "She was so close to death right afterwards and I thought I couldn't do this for the next 500 transplants. But she recovered so quickly and was out of the hospital in 7 days."
Staples said patients like Sharma bring a lot of pride to the whole transplant team. He said, "It's like seeing your kids grow up and be successful." Staples believes transplantations will continue to improve and there will be more stories like Sharma's. Who after two transplants, is triumphantly getting out of bed on his own and walking out of the hospital. Sharma said, "It was a dream that I lived for...when will I be able to do this? Now I can do it."
Of course, all organ transplants are made possible ultimately by organ donors.
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