First COVID-19 Patient to Receive Double Lung Transplant Shares Experience: 'This Is Real'

August 3, 2020
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    The first coronavirus patient to receive a double lung transplant is now speaking out about her experience.

    Mayra Ramirez, 28, told Today that anyone who thinks COVID-19 is a hoax should take a look at the scars on her chest.

    The 28-year-old was discharged from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after being in the hospital for nearly two months. She received a double-lung transplant in a 10-hour operation. Doctors said the surgery was necessary to save her life.

    Ramirez, a paralegal, said she believes that she is here with a purpose.

    “And whether that purpose is just to share my story and be living proof that lung transplantation for terminally-ill COVID patients is an option is the purpose, or it may be that I’m here to share the message with other people that don’t believe in COVID-19, that think that this is a hoax,” Ramirez added.

    While Ramirez was in the hospital, she said she does not remember the first several weeks that she was on a ventilator.

    According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there were 2,714 lung transplants in the United States in 2019.

    Ramirez’s surgeon, Dr. Ankit Bharat, said she was terminally ill and had severe and permanent lung damage. If she didn’t receive the surgery, Bharat said she would not be alive today.

    “It was the first one we had ever done, so there was a lot of unknowns about the transplant,” Bharat said.

    Ramirez has been working to regain her strength and continues to heal each day.

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