Sunday, May 11, 2008

Young woman receives double-lung transplant

Haley Gall

Fifteen-year-old Haley Gall is only the second pediatric Cystic Fibrosis patient to receive a double-lung transplant at Capital Health's Stollery Children's Hospital. Here she blows out the candle on a cupcake to demonstrate how well her new lungs work. She will be able to do it for real on June 25 when she turns 16. Photo Rick MacWilliam / Edmonton Journal

From the Calgary Herald (Canada):

Catherine Griwkowsky , The Edmonton Journal (Canada)
Haley Gall blew out a 16th birthday candle atop a tower of cupcakes at the Stollery Children's Hospital today.

Cystic fibrosis meant she couldn't blow out candles before. Now she can, thanks to an anonymous organ donor who allowed her to become the youngest patient at the Stollery to receive a double lung transplant.

"Now that I have lungs, I can live again," Gall told a news conference.

Gall went in for surgery April 10, two days after being told she was going to die. She was on the organ donor list for six weeks.

Dr. Jackson Wong, a pediatric pulmonologist, said lung transplants are difficult - only a few are done Canada-wide per year - but medical advances are allowing the tricky surgery to be successfully performed on younger patients.

Wong said there's "no magic equation" to see how long Gall will live.

"Every breath was a struggle," Wong said. "Her life expectancy is much better than before."

She will be discharged tomorrow.


- The first single and double lung transplants in the world, were both performed in Canada

- 1 in 3,600 children in Canada have cystic fibrosis

- the University of Alberta is one of five hospitals in Canada to perform lung transplants

- There is still not a cure for cystic fibrosis

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