‘No Greater Gift’: Suburban Man Receives First Lung and Liver Transplant at Northwestern Medicine


Patricio Corella considered all hope lost. A 63-year-old man from Vernon Hills lived with excruciating cough and dyspnea due to interstitial lung disease and non-alcoholic liver disease.

“My life was miserable. I had to bring my ,” said Collera. .

He needed a lung transplant, but doctors soon realized he also needed a new liver to withstand the transplant drugs.

“Lung and liver transplants are very rare and certainly very complicated operations,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat, director of thoracic surgery at Northwestern University.

Cholera called transplant centers around the country, but all were turned down because of his risk factors and age. He felt hopeless until Northwestern University answered the phone.

“According to the statistics I heard from other hospitals, the situation was grim. But I still wanted to do it,” he said.

Only 10 lung liver transplants have been performed nationwide so far in 2022.

“One of the key issues in multi-organ transplants such as lungs and livers is the time these organs remain outside the body. Dr. . Bharat.

Once in the operating room, surgeons had to work against the clock.

“We had to work twice as fast and twice as efficiently to ensure the success of the procedure. There was no room for error,” said Dr. Bharat.

Collera’s doctors said his surgery was successful. Thanksgiving Day marks three months since Cole received his organ.

“It made me realize how precious and serious life should be,” Collella said.

He plans to spend Thanksgiving with his wife. Since he cannot risk contracting an illness, he virtually checks in with the rest of his family.

Cholera and his doctors hope his success story will give hope to other patients.

“This was an important milestone,” said Dr. Bharat. “We hope that the success of this program will allow patients like Patricio to receive transplants through our program.”

Organs were from a single donor. And Corella says he will never forget that the gift of his life was abandoned by someone else.

“Don’t take life for granted.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

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