Medical first: Doctor fighting cancer receives groundbreaking liver-lung transplant

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Doctor with cancer receives rare liver, double lung rransplant.

NEW YORK, March 30: Northwestern surgeons have achieved an unprecedented milestone in medical history by performing a groundbreaking combined lung-liver transplant on a patient battling advanced lung cancer. What makes this feat even more remarkable is that the patient, Dr. Gary Gibbon, is a pulmonologist himself.

Dr. Gibbon, a Santa Monica-based physician, initially faced a grim prognosis after being diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. Despite undergoing extensive treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy at the University of California, Los Angeles, the damage to his lungs and liver proved irreparable. With conventional treatment options exhausted, he was advised to consider palliative or hospice care.

However, hope emerged when Dr. Gibbon’s wife recalled hearing about the Double Lung Replacement program, also known as the DREAM program, at Northwestern Medicine. Determined to explore every avenue, the couple traveled from California to Chicago, where Dr. Satish Nadig, director of the Northwestern Medicine Transplant Center, spearheaded the ambitious endeavor.

Within a mere 12 days of joining the transplant list, a remarkable opportunity arose: two lungs and a liver from a single donor became available. Given Dr. Gibbon’s critical condition, he was swiftly moved to the forefront of the transplant queue.

The subsequent surgery, described by Dr. Nadig as “off the charts” in terms of complexity and innovation, marked a historic milestone in medical science. Notably, this was the first instance of such a procedure being performed on a patient with active cancer. Despite the inherent challenges, the surgical team persevered through the night, meticulously removing cancerous cells and replacing diseased organs.

A key aspect of the procedure involved keeping the liver viable during the intricate lung transplant process. Dr. Ankit Bharat, of Northwestern Medicine’s Canning Thoracic Institute, explained the utilization of a perfusion machine to sustain the liver for 17 hours, ensuring its survival until the triple transplant was completed.

Months later, Dr. Gibbon, now cancer-free, is not only celebrating his 69th birthday but also relishing newfound marital bliss. His remarkable recovery serves as a testament to the transformative impact of organ donation and the unwavering dedication of medical professionals.

Expressing gratitude to his anonymous donor and their family, Dr. Gibbon acknowledges the profound gift of life that has enabled him to embark on a new chapter filled with hope and gratitude.

This news has been read 873 times!

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