LAKE ZURICH, Ill. (CBS) — COVID-19 can cause permanent lung damage. In the United States, seven people, including a Lake Zurich man, have received rare double lung transplants.
Brian Kuhns, 62, became sick in March from the novel coronavirus. He spoke exclusively with CBS News’ Dr. Jon LaPook.READ MORE: Bill Geared Toward Creating More Affordable Housing Passes Out Of Illinois Senate Committee
“The first time I woke up in the hospital I couldn’t breathe,” he said.
His lungs were severely damaged, so doctors put him on a life support treatment that uses a machine outside the body to add oxygen to his blood. He was on it for 100 days, alone in the hospital. Doctors at Northwestern Medicine told him to get a transplant or die.READ MORE: MISSING: Sariyah, 10, From Matteson
“In patients who have this COVID-19 lung injury and lung failure, they develop these punched out holes throughout the lungs,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat, who performed the surgery. “He had big time, big cavities. The lung was stuck to the heart, to the diaphragm, to the chest wall.”
The day after his surgery doctors took Brian off the ventilator to test his new lungs.
Kuhns said the first thing he did was take a breath.MORE NEWS: Chicago Public Library Posts Archive Of Speeches By Mayor Harold Washington, Born 99 Years Ago Thursday
Kuhns has weeks of rehabilitation ahead before he can finally go home.