CHICAGO (CBS)– Surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital performed a double lung transplant on a patient whose lungs were irreversibly damaged by COVID-19.

The patient is a woman in her twenties, who spent six weeks on a ventilator. Doctors said for many days, she was the sickest patient in the COVID ICU and possibly the entire hospital.

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The transplant was her only hope for survival and she had to be clear of the virus before it could be performed.

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Northwestern is one of the first health systems to successfully perform the double lung transplant on a COVID patient.

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The surgeons say they hope their success will spur other hospitals to offer the procedure.