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.

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

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

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