A Tale of Survival: A Triple L Transplant Saves a Life

A Tale of Survival: A Triple L Transplant Saves a Life

Dr. Gary Gibbon, a 69-year-old pulmonologist-allergist-immunologist from Santa Monica, faced a dire situation when he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer that had spread to the point of causing irreparable damage to his liver. Despite the grim prognosis, Gibbon refused to give up hope and sought out a cutting-edge solution that would ultimately save his life.

In a first-of-its-kind procedure, Gibbon underwent a combined lung-liver transplant at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. This innovative surgery, referred to as the “Triple L,” involved the transplantation of both lungs and a liver from the same donor. The surgery was performed by Dr. Ankit Bharat, the chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Medicine’s Canning Thoracic Institute.

Gibbon’s journey to recovery was not without its challenges. Following aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy that left his lungs irreversibly damaged, Gibbon’s health declined rapidly. By the time he was admitted to the hospital with septic shock, pneumonia, and multiple organ failure, it was clear that he needed a life-saving transplant to survive.

Thanks to the expertise of the medical team at Northwestern Medicine’s DREAM program, Gibbon received a new lease on life. The surgery, which lasted 10 hours, involved the meticulous removal of Gibbon’s cancer-ridden lungs and the transplantation of healthy donor lungs. The innovative “liver in a box” technology kept the donor liver viable while the lung transplant was carried out, ensuring a successful outcome for Gibbon.

Six months post-surgery, Gibbon remains cancer-free and is no longer in need of further treatment. His remarkable recovery serves as a testament to the power of modern medical advancements and the dedication of healthcare professionals. Gibbon plans to continue living in Chicago for the foreseeable future, allowing his transplant team to monitor his progress closely.

Dr. Gary Gibbon’s story of survival is a shining example of the incredible feats that can be achieved through perseverance, innovation, and the unwavering commitment of medical professionals. His journey from the brink of death to a cancer-free existence serves as a beacon of hope for those facing similar health challenges. The “Triple L” transplant not only saved Gibbon’s life but also opened up new possibilities for the future of organ transplantation and cancer treatment.


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