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Retired Northwestern Medicine nurse, first hospital group lung and liver transplant


CHICAGO (WLS) — He spent 25 years caring for hospitalized patients as a nurse.

Now he is the only recipient, becoming the first person to receive a liver and lung transplant at Northwestern Medicine.

“Don’t take life for granted,” said Patricio Collera, a lung and liver transplant recipient.

Wise words from Collera, who now has a new outlook on life thanks to Northwestern Medicine.

“I’m putting my life on the line for a very rare and complicated procedure,” he said.

Collera, a retired Northwestern Medicine nurse, was diagnosed with lung and liver disease in 2017.

Breathing became such a challenge that he relied on 24/7 supportive oxygen, forcing the nurse to leave the profession she loved.

“My life before the operation for months and over a year was miserable,” Collera said. “I dragged oxygen tubes wherever I wanted.”

“One of the critical issues in transplants of multiple organs such as lungs and livers is the length of time these organs remain outside the human body,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern. Medical.

Collera needed a lung and liver transplant, a procedure so rare and complex that only 10 operations have been performed in the United States this year.

“So we had to work twice as fast with twice the efficiency to make sure the procedure was successful,” Dr Bharat said.

Just 10 days after being listed for transplant, Collera received the call that would ultimately save his life.

“Northwestern took me in and assured me they were going to do a lung and liver transplant at the same time. I was overjoyed,” Collera said.

The operation was not only successful, but historic for Northwestern.

Collera became the first-ever Northwestern Medicine patient to receive a lung-liver transplant.

“They all worked in perfect harmony. As we like to call it, in a perfectly coordinated ballroom dance to make sure it was a hit,” Dr. Bharat said.

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