'He was on death's door'

DAILY MAIL | Mary Kekatos

US teen, 15, who survived cancer makes incredible recovery after rare and risky heart-lung transplant to save his life

Long road: There are few hospitals in the US that perform pediatric heart-lung transplants. Spencer was turned down by most because his lung has almost become attached to his chest and the surgery was 'too risky'. Pictured on Halloween 2016, one month before his transplant

A 15-year-old boy is making an astonishing recovery after being the only person in America to undergo a heart-lung transplant last year.

Spencer Kolman, from Chicago, Illinois, was 'at death's door', according to his doctors, after waiting three years for a donor. 

He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease which scars the lungs, causing the heart and lungs to fail, in 2013. Without a transplant, it can be fatal. 

It was latest blow for Spencer, who survived cancer as a baby, then suffered years of misdiagnoses as he struggled to breathe. 

Finally diagnosed, he was put on the years-long wait list. 

Due to a shortage of donors, heart-lung transplants - replacing both organ in a single operation - are rare.

Only about one hundred such transplants are performed each year in the US. And only five hospitals perform the operation on children - none of them in Chicago.

By 2016, doctors told Spencer he had a year to live. Continue reading