Cystic Fibrosis patient Pam Metcalf was given six months to live. This is an inspiring story about how her cousin Chris Kutryk and an uncle, 50-year-old Dave Donald, donated lobes of their own lungs to save Pam’s life. This is a rare, high-risk procedure and there’s been only six living lung transplants performed in Canada.
Note: Although this is a very laudable story, medical professionals have checked the article and noticed a factual error; the average lifespan of transplanted lungs was reported as 15-20 years. While this is what we all hope for, it was inaccurate for the reporter to imply that this is the average or expected outcome of a lung transplant at the present time.
Lobes from two Edmonton donors replace Red Deer, Alberta woman's failing lungs
Jodie Sinnema, The Edmonton Journal
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
EDMONTON - When Chris Kutryk heard his cousin had only six months to live unless she received a lung transplant, he quit smoking, took an office job less physically taxing than his oilfield work and agreed to donate the lower lobe of his left lung.
He now has a 20-centimetre scar across his abdomen, 20 per cent less lung capacity and a job with one-third his previous salary -- but also a cousin who will live long enough to get married after he and an uncle became live lung donors.
"I had a choice: I could go to a funeral or be inconvenienced for a few months," said Kutryk, 34, of his decision to donate.
His 25-year-old cousin, Pam Metcalf of Red Deer, had cystic fibrosis and was dying while she waited for a more traditional lung transplant from a donor whose brain has died, but whose organs are sustained through artificial life support...read the Edmonton Journal Article where you will learn that this procedure is rarely done.
According to Dr. John Mullen, Metcalf's transplant surgeon, only six such live transplantations have been done in Canada, five of them at the University of Alberta, including Metcalf's operation and an unsuccessful one after which a recipient died from a severe fungal infection.
"It's rare because we are really putting three people's lives on the line at the same time," Mullen said. "There is no other operation that has a 300-per-cent risk." Read the Full Article