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Grandfather Who Survived COVID-19 Recalls Life-Saving Double Lung Transplant: "I Took a Chance"

Auto mechanic Brian Kuhns had heard "very little about" the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, until one day in his Chicago shop, it hit him. Kuhns is one of just seven people in the U.S., among hundreds of thousands of survivors, to receive a double lung transplant after COVID-19 inflicted terminal, irreversible damage on his own respiratory system. At that point, Dr. Bharat and his team at Northwestern Medicine told Kuhns that his choice was to get a transplant or risk dying in his current state. "I took a chance, and those guys were relentless," Kuhns said. Bharat, who had performed the first successful double-lung transplant on a 28-year-old COVID-19 patient just a month earlier, warned Kuhns it would be risky. "This was a treatment of last resort for him. We told them, like, I cannot say with certainty that he will get through this, but we have done it once before," Bharat said. The day after the 10-hour surgery, doctors took Kuhns off his ventilator to test out his new lungs. "I could breathe again," Kuhns marveled. He said the first thing he did after the surgery took deliberately large breaths. He said he would never take breathing for granted again

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