UPMC celebrates its 2,000th lung transplant with one patient still well 28 years later

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | David Templeton

Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette    Paul McGuinness of Avalon talks about his double lung transplant at Presbyterian Hospital 28 years ago.
Paul McGuinness of Avalon talks about his double lung transplant at Presbyterian Hospital 28 years ago.

Knowing that fateful day someday would arrive, Paul McGuinness sat with his family as his doctor explained the life-and-death decision he faced. Neither option held much hope.

Continue with available cystic fibrosis treatments and he’d likely be dead within a year, with round-the-clock struggles to breathe. Or get an experimental double-lung transplant at UPMC with a 10 percent chance of living five years.

“The choice was to die or get a lung transplant, and, of course, I wanted to live longer,” said Mr. McGuinness, who chose the transplant. “If I didn’t make it, I’d help advance science.”

His double-lung transplant occurred Oct. 19, 1988 — 28 years ago. He not only beat the odds but also obliterated them and now is considered one of the longest surviving double-lung transplant patients with cystic fibrosis in the United States, if not the longest. Continue reading


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