From the Dean’s Newsletter: Artificial Lung Device Pioneered at UK is New Breath of Life for Pike County Patient
After 37 years of working in the coal mines in Eastern Kentucky, Ernie Gillispie of Canada, Kentucky in Pike County, had black lung disease. Suffering from the condition for more than 25 years, Gillispie said it became a challenge to walk even five feet and forced him to begin using a wheelchair in December 2010.
However, an artificial lung device pioneered at UK HealthCare led to Gillispie’s being eligible to undergo a life-saving transplant. Although there was much uncertainty when the Gillispies first came to UK HealthCare, they were willing to take chances to improve Ernie’s quality of life.
Charles Hoopes, MD, UK HealthCare’s new director of the UK Heart and Lung Transplant Program, the director of the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program and associate professor of Surgery, shared with the Gillispies an option that could save his life, but risk was involved because it had not been done before at UK.
Hoopes recommended Gillispie undergo surgery to allow the use of an artificial lung and double lumen catheter, an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), to improve his condition and quality of life, with the hope that this improvement would make him a candidate for a double lung transplant.
For more on this story and to view a video, click here.
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