Phoenix area hospital celebrates 15 years of lung transplants, as well as the lives saved

Phoenix hospital celebrates 15 years of lung transplants

Over a decade after she received a lung transplant at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute, a woman from New Mexico is speaking out about the life-saving surgery she received. FOX 10’s Bailey Miller reports.

A hospital in the Phoenix area is celebrating 15 years since their first lung transplant.

St. Joseph’s was the first to conduct the procedure in Maricopa County, and since then, more than 1,000 people have received lung transplants at the hospital.

“I’m doing good right now,” said Manuelita Jaramillo.

Manuelita and her husband, Tony Jaramillo, just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, which would not have been possible if she did not receive her lung transplant 15 years ago.

“It hasn’t been easy, but Manuelita is such a fighter, and never gives up,” said Tony.

Manuelita was the second person to ever get a transplant at Dignity Health St joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute, after she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis.

“It is a remarkable operation to see patients stuck in a wheelchair, on oxygen and get a transplant and walk out of the hospital with their families. Very rewarding,” said Dr. Ross Bremmer, Executive Director of the Norton Thoracic Institute.

dr Bremmer says the institute quickly became one of the leading programs in the country, attracting patients from all over the country. and even the world.

Our wait time to get transplanted is shorter than the national average, and there are reasons for that, because of the work our pulmonologists do, potential donors that can come to transplant,” said Dr. Bremmer.

Manuelita, a New Mexico native, chose the program, and traveled to Arizona for the surgery. Doctors told her after that she would only have five years to live, but she is thankful she has defied all odds.

“It is unusual to live 15 years, but we are grateful for a wonderful life,” said Manuelita. “They gave me five years at most. five years, but when I got six, seven, eight, 15 — I mean, it is wonderful.”

both dr Bremmer, Manuelita, and Manuelita’s husband wanted to say these transplants and second chances at life would not be possible without the organ donors, and their wonderful families. Manuelita advocates for those programs now.

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