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Woman received the first COVID-related double lung transplant in Wisconsin



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Carmen Lerma is not the first person in Wisconsin to get COVID. Far away. She has joined nearly 300,000 people who have been diagnosed with the virus, but Carmen is unique in recovery.

Carmen took a deep breath for the first time in four months.

You all like the best. Thank you very much,” Carmen said to UW Health’s doctors and nurses.

Let her say goodbye to some irreplaceable men and women

“Each of you did make a difference. I won’t be here today, so thank you.” Carmen said.

Everyone in the hallway applauded Carmen, and the nurse pushed her out. This is a beautiful day. Carmen’s mask may conceal her smile, but the tears of gratitude in her eyes are unbearable.
This is already a long journey, so it is worthwhile to walk a few steps back along the corridor. This is an important step in her recovery.

“There is a door! There is a door!” Carmen said, pointing to his family outside the hospital.

“It’s been a while,” she said, hugging her husband.

Thursday was the first time Carmen saw her husband and family since she was hospitalized. She got COVID-19 in July, which damaged her lungs. She was eventually inhaled with oxygen and then the list of donors.

“It’s hard to know how much time Carmen will have,” said Dr. Dan McCarthy, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Wisconsin.

Due to the sacrifice of the donor family, Carmen only waited a few days before getting a new lung. This is the first COVID-related double lung transplant in Wisconsin. Dr. McCarthy said surgery is more complicated than conventional transplantation.

McCarthy said: “Because COVID is so new, we really don’t have a lot of evidence to determine when it is the right time to transplant these patients.”

Carmen felt good again, and there was no oxygen.

“Oh my god. It’s amazing. I never thought I could do it again,” Carmen said.

Carmen’s reunion with her family proved that her life is not unique.

“I just want to hug her. It’s been a long time,” Carmen’s husband Hector Lerma said, his voice trembling. “Without her. I mean, we used to do everything together. I miss her.”

Thanks to UW Health’s doctors and nurses, Carmen Lerma has a new set of lungs. However, only her family can finally breathe easily again.

“It’s priceless. It was amazing to see her for the first time,” said brother Mario Ortiz.

“Joy. Happiness. I miss her so much,” Hector said.

Carmen said: “A hard journey, but a great ending.”

Carmen wrote a letter to the family of someone she now has lungs and thanked them for the gift of life to her. Dr. McCarthy said Carmen’s recovery will be long. Doctors at the University of Wisconsin must of course monitor her and make sure that her body does not reject her new lungs.




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