Giving back: once a lung transplant recipient, now a surgical nurse

Nurses are identified for being variety, caring and sympathetic, however Brianna Fogelman brings an unusual empathy to her nursing job at Johns Hopkins Drugs in Baltimore.

Fogelman, 27, underwent a double lung transplant final yr to deal with a uncommon lung illness and returned this fall to work in the identical hospital the place she acquired her life-changing surgical procedure.

“I perceive the way it feels to have your means to breathe taken away from you in simply a few days,” she mentioned.

Although she had all the time deliberate to turn out to be a nurse, it wasn’t till after her transplant that it felt like extra of a calling, Fogelman mentioned.

“My curiosity and fervour spiked tremendously after I grew to become a affected person,” she mentioned.

The previous highschool monitor and discipline athlete was in her third yr of nursing college when she was recognized within the spring of 2019 with hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It is a that causes irritation that may result in irreversible lung scarring.

The situation is brought on by inhaling particular environmental allergens—in Fogelman’s case, feathers. As a baby, she had parakeets as pets and finally developed an allergy to all sorts of feathers, together with these in pillows, blankets and jackets. In consequence, her lung situation worsened.

She and her docs tried all the pieces to enhance her respiratory, together with immunosuppressants and steroids to scale back irritation, and Fogelman mentioned her lungs had been “respectable” for some time.

Then, in 2018, she developed an an infection that may be pivotal for her well being. “I had six to eight lung collapses from 2018 to 2019,” she recalled.

Regardless of that, Fogelman managed to proceed her nursing coaching at Wesley Faculty in Dover, Del.

However quickly after commencement, she obtained pneumonia and misplaced all remaining lung operate. She was positioned on the emergency transplant ready checklist.

On June 24, 2019, after a few disappointments, she acquired her new lungs.

It was the one centesimal transplant surgical procedure at Johns Hopkins for her surgeon Dr. Errol Bush, who’s thrilled to have Fogelman again at Hopkins—as a nurse.

“She is an incredible nurse due to what she has been by means of,” mentioned Bush, surgical director of Hopkins’ superior lung illness and lung transplant program.

Fogelman’s transplant surgical procedure was successful, although it had an sudden wrinkle: The decrease lobe of her new proper lung needed to be eliminated in the course of the operation so it may higher slot in her small chest cavity.

Although she just isn’t straight treating sufferers with COVID-19 or different infectious lung ailments, the hope is that she is going to see extra transplant sufferers as soon as the pandemic is underneath management. The medicines she takes to stop make her extra prone to infections like COVID-19.

Fogelman is without doubt one of the fortunate ones, Bush mentioned. Many donor lungs are too broken to safely attributable to underlying illness or time spent on mechanical respiratory machines, he mentioned.

“She is aware of the way it feels to be intubated and ready for lungs,” Bush mentioned. “We went by means of a number of donors and letdowns when lungs weren’t good.”

All of it offers nurse Fogelman a particular sensitivity to sufferers.

“She will reply questions like, “Is it painful?” and assist relieve nervousness and provide assist in ways in which the remainder of our care members aren’t capable of do,” Bush mentioned.

Ready for brand spanking new lungs was onerous, Fogelman added.

“I empathize with sufferers who really feel helpless and do not see the sunshine on the finish of tunnel,” she mentioned. “You might be all the time getting dangerous information, and that is how I felt for thus lengthy.”

On a regular basis within the hospital ready for brand spanking new lungs left her a bit out of practice, however Fogelman feels “actually good,” she mentioned.

“I can do all the pieces,” she mentioned. “I can run and stroll upstairs.”

She is vocal about the advantages and significance of organ donation.

“Total, it is essential that individuals attempt to perceive that is so necessary and may attempt to get to know individuals who have benefited,” Fogelman mentioned.

COVID-19 can harm lungs so badly that ‘solely hope’ is transplant

Extra info:
To study extra about organ donation, go to the U.S. Authorities Data on Organ Donation and Transplantation.

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Giving again: as soon as a lung transplant recipient, now a surgical nurse (2020, December 30)
retrieved 30 December 2020

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