Utah nurse who had severe COVID-19 receives double lung transplant

A Utah intensive care unit nurse was released from Gainesville, Fla.-based UF Health Shands Hospital after a severe COVID-19 infection left her needing a double lung transplant, CBS4 Miami reported Feb. 22. 

Jill Hansen Holker, RN, contracted a COVID-19 infection in November. The infection eventually became severe, leaving Ms. Holker unable to breathe on her own. She was transferred from her hospital's ICU in Utah to UF Health Shands Hospital and placed on the list for a double lung transplant, which she received about a month ago, according to CBS4. 

"I had no underlying health conditions at all," Ms. Holker said. "I run. I work full-time and don't take any medications. It hit me to the point where they called my daughter to tell her to start thinking about withdrawing care." 

"We are seeing more and more patients in this situation," Tiago Machuca, MD, PhD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UF Health, told CBS4. "Those lungs are irreversibly damaged and the only option of leaving the hospital alive will be through double lung transplant." 

Ms. Holker will require three months of rehabilitation before heading back home to Utah. She is one of 12 COVID-19 patients who have received lung transplants from UF Health's team.

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