An Asheville man's path to a lung transplant at UNC

An Asheville man's path to a lung transplant at UNC click to enlarge Bryan Parker after his lung transplant surgery. (Courtesy of WLOS-TV in Asheville)
An Asheville man's path to a lung transplant at UNC click to enlarge Dr. Jason Long talks about the transplant surgery.

Nov. 7, 2016

In September, Bryan Parker received a life-saving double lung transplant at UNC Hospitals. Parker, 30, of Asheville, was born with cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that affects the lungs and other organs and makes it hard to breathe. He went on the transplant waiting list in October 2015; by the summer of 2016, his lung capacity had fallen to 14 percent.

On Sept. 10, Dr. Benjamin Haithcock and Dr. Jason Long of UNC gave Parker new lungs in a transplant operation. Parker was doing well after the surgery.

"It's amazing. He's like a new person. His eyes are wide open now. He was walking around the hallways without oxygen. That's probably the most amazing thing," said Dr. Long.

The UNC lung transplant team, including pulmonologists Dr. Jason Lobo and Dr.  Raymond Coakley and physicians and staff of the UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center, took excellent care of Parker before and after his surgery, Dr. Long said.

Aaron Adelson, a reporter for WLOS TV station in Asheville, had followed Parker for months during his wait for a transplant and reported on the surgery. Watch the WLOS broadcast here.

In an interview, Dr. Long talked about the surgery and the importance of organ donation.

Parker will stay in Chapel Hill for several months during his recuperation; after that, he looks forward to going home and playing golf, fishing, and catching up with friends.

"Now, I can inhale, get a good breath in, and just fully inhale and exhale and that's a great feeling," Parker said.

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