Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mother's life saved by historic lung surgery

Melissa Benoit with her daughter Olivia prior to a lung transplant. Doctors in Canada saved her life by removing her lungs for six days while she waited for the transplant
Melissa Benoit with her daughter Olivia prior to a lung transplant. Doctors in Canada saved her life by removing her lungs for six days while she waited for the transplant

Nick Allen in Washington

A mother's life has been saved in an unprecedented operation in which doctors removed her lungs for six days while she waited for a transplant.

Canadian Melissa Benoit (32), who was born with cystic fibrosis, had a severe bacterial lung infection and was dying when she was admitted to Toronto General Hospital.

Both her lungs were taken out and a portable, artificial lung was connected to her heart.

A team of 13 operating staff took part in the efforts to remove Mrs Benoit's organs in a procedure that took nine hours.

The risks included bleeding into an empty chest cavity and whether her blood pressure and oxygen levels could be supported afterwards.

After her lungs were removed, her condition stabilised and a pair of donor lungs became available six days later, at which point she received the transplant.

"Having this transplant saved my life," Mrs Benoit said.

"I wouldn't be here to see my daughter grow up, I wouldn't be here to grow old with my husband.

"These are things that I want so badly in life."

Surgeon Dr Shaf Keshavjee said: "We had to make a decision because Melissa was going to die that night. Melissa gave us the courage to go ahead."

The operation took place in April 2016, but was not publicised until nine months later.

Her family said Mrs Benoit had often told them she would want to try everything possible to live for her husband Christopher and two-year-old daughter Olivia.

"Her new lungs functioned beautifully and inflated easily. Perfect," Thoracic surgeon Dr Marcelo Cypel said. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in World News