(CBS) — A special education teacher, a judge, a grandmother, an executive director and a 21-year-old woman.
Five people, five different backgrounds, all share one thing: the gift of a new life, thanks to organ donation and a ground-breaking moment.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.
“We are all blessed,” Roderick Beck says.
He speaks through tears, for himself and the four people next to him. Each has a new lease on life because of the generosity of others.
Julie D’Agostino and Robert Senander each received a lung from the same donor.
“It was a miracle that I even got the lungs,” D’Agostino says.
“The whole thing is rather amazing, that this has all happened, in the matter of a week,”Senander says.
All five patients had been on a waiting list. A team of 30 doctors and nurses from Loyola University Health System worked for a little more than 24 hours straight, performing five transplants and using lungs from three donors.
On average, five lung transplants are done each day nationwide.
“None of this obviously is possible without loved ones and patients and people willing to donate their organs, and they’re the true heroes along with our five recipients here today,” Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, Loyola’s surgical director of lung transplantation, says.
Karen Emerich had a double lung transplant.
Beck and Linda Kern also received lungs from the same donor.
“I’m looking forward to a new future. A brighter future,” Kern says.
“We are indeed blessed because someone paid the price of these lungs,” Beck says.
Each patient will have to take drugs for the rest of their lives to make sure their bodies do not reject the donor lungs.