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Lung Transplant Patient Story: Meet Mickey Hart

image of Mickey Hart lung transplant patientYou would not have seen Buffalo native, Mickey Hart, on the golf course 25 years ago. But he's come a long way after fighting through a series of life-threatening sicknesses and receiving a double lung transplant.

The Challenge: Cystic Fibrosis

Doctors diagnosed Mickey with cystic fibrosis (CF) shortly after he was born.

CF is a serious, life-long disease. It causes the glands throughout the body to produce a thick mucus, damaging the lungs and other organs in the body.

Naturally, this led to severe health problems for Mickey when growing up.

“I almost died of pneumonia when I was eight,” said Mickey. “I wasn’t living my life to the fullest.”

For nearly 20 years, he fought the disease. But, after frequent visits to the hospital and being on oxygen for seven years, his lungs had started to fail.

The Path to UPMC's Lung Transplant Team

Mickey’s doctor told him that he needed a lung transplant to survive, but Mickey didn't know where he should go for the procedure.

He looked at hospitals with his wife, Sara, close to home in Buffalo. They wanted a hospital with a sense of care, experience, and expertise.

Their search led them to UPMC.

“It was wonderful,” said Mickey. “I don’t know of a hospital that comes close. The coordinators treated me like a brother, like family.”

Eleven days later, when all hope seemed lost, a set of lungs became available.

Hesitant and scared to go through a transplant, Sara leaned on the support of family and the entire UPMC lung transplant team.

The Solution: A Double Lung Transplant

On April 6, 1991, Mickey had a successful double lung transplant.

Mickey’s birthday passed while he was in the hospital. He considers this birthday one of the best he ever had.

“I got a pair of working lungs and the opportunity to have a new life,” said Mickey.

Sara, who stayed by her husband’s side the entire time, was relieved when she heard the good news.

“At all times, I knew what was going on,” said Sara. “I was so happy to hear that he was going to be alright.”

Sara is so thankful for the support both she and Mickey received from the transplant team.

“I still tear up when I think back to those long and scary four months,” says Sara.

The Results: Being the Active Person He Always Wanted to Be

Since his lung transplant surgery, Mickey has been able to be the active person he always wanted to be. Today, he's enjoying life and loves playing his favorite sports, including golf.

“It has been 25 years and it seems like it never happened to me,” Mickey said. “I’m not afraid to live life to the fullest.”

For Mickey, his lung transplant gave him the chance to live a normal life.

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