Sunday, April 21, 2024

Doctor Receives Lifesaving Treatment After Seeing a News Report

Dr. Gary Gibbon, a pulmonologist, never thought that he would be diagnosed with lung disease.

Gibbon, who is from Santa Monica, California, had no previous medical history and did not need to take any medications.

In 2023, however, he developed a cough and began to lose weight. He saw the doctor who took a CT scan and an x-ray of his lungs – and the results were shocking. The 69-year-old was told he had stage four lung cancer, which is the major cause of cancer deaths in the country.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer causes one in five cancer deaths every year in the U.S.

dr gibbon He immediately underwent chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation, which helped shrink the cancer. However, his lungs had irreversible damage, which landed him in palliative hospice care in the summer of 2023.

That’s when he remembered a story that he had seen on the news. Back in 2022, a news outlet reported on a groundbreaking treatment for those with late-stage lung cancer – a double lung transplant, which successfully cured two patients of the condition.

According to traditional treatment guidelines, having late-stage lung cancer would disqualify him from receiving a lung transplant. But in the story, the surgeons in Chicago did exactly that.

Normally, lung transparents were saved for those with early stages of cancer and involved replacing one of the organs at a time. There was also a risk that the cancer would spread from the old lung to the new lung, contaminating it.

gibbon recovering
Gibbon recovering from his complex operation at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago

However, doctors at the DREAM Program were able to pioneer a novel approach where they’re able to remove both cancerous lungs at the same time, replacing them with healthy ones. They found that this significantly lowered the risk of contamination to the organs.

Since 2021, the team has successfully treated more than 30 patients with advanced lung cancer.

Gibbons immediately asked his medical team to reach out to those in the DREAM Program. But then tests showed that his liver had started to fail due to the chemotherapy drugs. This meant he not only needed a double lung transplant but a liver transplant as well.

While the DREAM team was initially hesitant, as they had never done such a complex operation, they eventually decided to proceed.

A month after talking to the doctors, Gibbon had arrived in Chicago, and just four days later, a pair of lungs and liver had become available.

gibbon
Following the double-lung and liver transplants, Gibbon is now cancer-free

The medical team used a new technology called liver perfusion and was able to complete the complex operation in just 10 hours.

Gibbon, who underwent the life-saving surgery six months ago, is now cancer-free.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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