Hotel engineer, 50, successfully receives the UK’s first double lung transplant for a Covid infection after being ‘shackled to life support machines’ for five months
- Cesar Franco was fit and healthy before he caught the Covid-19 infection
- Within a few days he had to be placed on a ventilator and life support machine
- Mr Franco developed inflammation of the lungs which led to lung fibrosis
- In ICU for five months before transplant at Harefield Hospital in Hillingdon
A 50-year-old man who was ‘shackled to life support machines’ for five months has successfully received the UK’s first double lung transplant for complications due to a Covid-19 infection.
Cesar Franco, a maintenance engineer at a five star hotel in central London, caught Covid-19 just before Christmas last year.
The father-of-one, from Streatham in south London, was fit and healthy before he caught the infection. However, within a few days he deteriorated to the point where he had to be placed on a ventilator and life support machine at St Thomas’ hospital in central London.
He went on to develop inflammation of the lungs, leading to lung fibrosis – scarring of the lung tissue – which meant he was unable to breathe on his own.
Cesar Franco, 50, who was ‘shackled to life support machines’ after Covid complications has been given a new lease of life since having a double lung transplant – the first of its kind in the UK. Pictured: Mr Franco with his son Gabriel, 13, after surgery
Mr Franco remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) for five months before being transferred to Harefield Hospital, where he went on to receive a double lung transplant – the first of its kind in the UK.
His surgeon described him as being a ‘prisoner in ICU’ before the operation. Mr Franco received the transplant in June and is now recuperating at home after being discharged at the end of August.
He hopes to gradually return to work in the coming year, but at the moment he is spending time with his family – his wife, Gosia, and his 13-year-old son Gabriel – as well as taking daily walks.
Mr Franco, who had not received a Covid-19 jab before he caught the virus but has since been vaccinated, said: ‘It was a very frightening experience and I didn’t know if I would ever leave the hospital.
Mr Franco caught Covid-19 just before Christmas last year. He went on to develop inflammation of the lungs, leading to lung fibrosis – scarring of the lung tissue – which meant he was unable to breathe on his own
‘I initially was hesitant when the doctors spoke to me about transplantation – I wanted my body to heal on its own, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t an option for me – I was just so unwell.
‘The doctors, nurses and physiotherapists that were by my side during my time in the hospital became my rock.
‘They all treated me with the most respect, professionalism and compassion. They made sure to support me physically and emotionally during my lowest and most vulnerable times. I can’t thank them enough for taking care of me.’
He added: ‘My donor gave me the gift of life with their selfless decision to be an organ donor.
‘I am now able to live my life again and I want to get everything out of life now I have been given this precious gift.
After becoming severely ill Mr Franco remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) for five months before being transferred to Harefield Hospital, where he went on to receive a double lung transplant – the first of its kind in the UK. Since the operation he has been given a new lease of life
‘Thank you to my donor, thank you to their family and thank you to the medical teams who have all got me to where I am now. And last but not least, I am endlessly thankful for my lovely wife and son for always showing me their love and support during this difficult time.’
Pictured: NHS staff with Mr Franco as he recovers from his double lung transplant
Meanwhile, Professor John Dunning, director of heart and lung transplantation at Harefield Hospital, said: ‘Cesar’s story exemplifies everything that is great about the NHS, receiving excellent care throughout his journey.
‘He was someone with an acute illness whose condition deteriorated to a point where he required the expert care from ICU staff and mechanical life support.
‘At this point it was almost like he was a prisoner in ICU, shackled to life support machines which were the difference between life and death. Freedom from this prison happened when he was referred to the lung transplant service at Harefield and was given a second chance at life.’
Mr Franco said: ‘The doctors, nurses and physiotherapists that were by my side during my time in the hospital became my rock.’ Pictured: Mr Franco with Suze Hutchinson, a specialist psychotherapist
Professor Dunning added: ‘He received his transplant and was rehabilitated to return home a couple of months after his operation. He is now flourishing and is able to spend time with his wife and son, less than a year on from acquiring a life-threatening illness.
‘Cesar was fortunate because he was able to receive a transplant.
‘We have seen a decrease in organ donors since the beginning of the pandemic, and as a result, many patients on transplant lists are not living long enough to receive an organ.’
Source: Read Full Article