A Burlington, Ontario mother has a new lease on life after doctors removed her diseased lungs and kept her alive for six days. Heck ya, science!
33-year-old Melissa Benoit has lived with cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disorder that can cause respiratory and digestive problems, for her entire life. After a bout of influenza last April, Benoit’s body went into septic shock and landed her in intensive care and soon enough, her organs began shutting down. Doctors suggested they try a highly risky, first-of-its-kind procedure that would leave her without lungs for several days while she stabilized enough to undergo a transplant. Knowing the full gravity of the situation, the family made the difficult decision to try.
“It was her only option,” said Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, director of Toronto General Hospital’s lung transplant program. “For the first time ever, we had a patient in our intensive care unit with no lungs. In fact, she technically was on an artificial lung, an artificial heart and an artificial kidney for six days.”
Removing the lungs rid Benoit’s body of the source of sepsis, but left her with nothing but a piece of plastic equipment to oxygenate and remove carbon dioxide from her blood. Doctors told her family she had a one per cent chance of survival.
Today, after months of rehabilitation, Benoit is on her feet and back to being a mother to her three-year-old daughter.
“I’m the first in the world that they’ve tried this on. I’ll be the first in the world to see how long we live,” Benoit said.
It’s a big win, both for Benoit’s family members, and for the medical community.
“From the bottom of my heart, I have to thank the team, my donor and my family,” she said.
You can learn more about Melissa in the video above, so excuse us while we go to wipe away our tears.