Healthy Living

Life Without Lungs: How One Woman Overcame the Odds

Melissa's options looked grim, until doctors discussed a radical idea

Septic shock, which causes organ failure, also causes the blood pressure to dangerously decrease, reducing the speed of blood flow. When the blood flow speed becomes slower than it should, the blood can’t reach the tissues and organ fast enough to deliver essential nutrients, like oxygen, vitamins, and minerals. Simultaneously, the blood begins to clot, and toxins and fluids begin to build up within the body. This is why doctors do not want to perform an organ transplant while a patient is in septic shock. The risk is simply astronomical.

But for Melissa, what else could they do? If nothing was done, she would die; if they did a transplant, she would die. Since Melissa was unconscious at this point, it was up to her family to decide what to do. Once again, the family met with doctors to create a game plan of hope for Melissa.

Out of these conferring came a radical idea: what if both lungs were removed immediately?