The lungs of Davey Bauer had to go.
After spending years vaping, the 34-year-old had influenza and ended up in the hospital. The only treatment available to him was a double lung transplant. But he needed time to heal without his infected, damaged lungs before his body could handle the surgery.
He was given a temporary lung by Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s medical staff, but his surgeon pointed out that both of his lungs needed to be removed, not just one. How do doctors keep a patient’s heart from exploding in on itself if they remove at least one of those big, spongy organs? Dr. Ankit Bharat explained that the implants were DD-breast implants.
“Maintaining the heart’s proper position is among the lungs’ numerous roles,” Bharat stated to The Washington Post. We had to devise a plan of action. We ultimately resorted to using breast implants alone. These were the largest implants that could be placed within a human being.
For the first time, breast implants and a prosthetic lung were employed by Northwestern Medicine physicians to support a double lung transplant. Bauer’s life was spared by the ingenious plan. However, the unusual fix was also especially appropriate for Bauer’s situation and his ideal chest cavity size. Bharat claims that while it might not become widely accepted, it does provide a workable solution in certain challenging situations.
Because of the severity of their lung injury, Bharat added, “this milestone has helped us understand that there is a potential strategy to get patients who need a lung transplant but are too sick to undergo that procedure.”
At the age of 21, Bauer, who works in landscaping in St. Louis and enjoys snowboarding and skateboarding, started smoking cigarettes. 2014, he claimed, he made the switch to vaping because he felt it was a better option.
The majority of health authorities disagree, and they have been warning about e-cigarettes for years. Concerns have been expressed by many on the unclear long-term effects that Bauer and other healthy young people may experience from the widely used cigarette substitute.
According to Bharat’s medical assessment, Bauer’s history of vaping most likely contributed to his severe condition.
April was Bauer’s flu season. He found it difficult to move and breathe. Susan Gore, his girlfriend, sent him to the ER on April 16. Two months later, Bauer claimed, he woke up with a new pair of lungs, and that’s the last he remembers.
With Susan and my entire family there, “it was definitely overwhelming at first, and just realising everything that happened was kind of a slow process,” Bauer remarked. However, he continued, “it’s pretty cool” that he lived. “It was almost miraculous that I woke up and heard that story,” the speaker said.
When Bauer was first brought to a St. Louis hospital, he was put into a medical coma and connected to a machine that pumped and oxygenated blood while simulating the actions of the heart and lungs. However, Bauer’s health kept getting worse, and it became obvious that his only chance of survival was a double lung transplant.
After sending Bauer to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Bharat’s team came up with a plan to remove the patient’s sick lungs, create an artificial lung, and implant the DD-breast implants into Bauer’s chest cavity to keep his heart from failing.
Bauer’s body began to rid itself of the illness in a day, and according to Bharat, he was put on the waiting list for a double lung transplant. On May 27, the team got an offer of replacement lungs, and the next day, the donor lungs were installed and the breast implants were removed. Bauer was released from the intensive care unit in late September after spending many months there rehabilitating.
Under the close supervision of his medical team, he continues to get rehabilitation therapy in Chicago; however, Bauer and Gore expressed their eagerness to return to their Missourian home.
As someone who saw the months-long ordeal firsthand, Susan believes that Bauer’s recovery is practically a miracle.
She remarked, “I used to get really emotional whenever I saw his toes wiggle,” realising how far Bauer had gone from using a wheelchair to being able to walk without assistance.
Bauer is eager to get back into snowboarding and has no intention of ever vaping again.
“I feel a lot like I did before everything.” Other than that, I’m here and grateful to be here, but I’m still working on regaining some strength,” he remarked.