'God has a plan for me' - lung transplant patient

2016-12-23 13:01
Fanie Swart with his wife Naomi after his double lung transplant in Netcare Milpark Hospital (supplied)

Fanie Swart with his wife Naomi after his double lung transplant in Netcare Milpark Hospital (supplied)

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Johannesburg – Fifty-six-year-old Fanie Swart from Boksburg has something extra to be grateful for this festive season after he became the 100th patient to receive a lung transplant at the Netcare Milpark Hospital.

"For me, it is a miracle that I will be able to spend Christmas at home with my wife, children and grandchildren. I never thought that I would make it through this year, but God has a plan for me," Swart said in a press release by the hospital.

Swart, who has never been a smoker, was in need of a double lung transplant because he suffered from interstitial lung disease with pulmonary hypertension. This means that the blood pressure in his lungs was too high and as a result they were not functioning normally due to inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue.

According to doctor Paul Williams, Swart was in a very poor condition at the start of 2016.  

"When we saw him at the beginning of this year Mr Swart was very, very ill and very short of breath. He had put on a lot of weight because of all the medication he was on, and due to his condition he was short of breath and couldn't do much exercise," Williams said.

Swart was placed on an exercise programme so he could be ready for the transplant operation.

Critical shortage of donors

"We got him started on an exercise programme, doing as much as he could, given the fact that he was reliant on supplemental oxygen. Mr Swart was extremely enthusiastic; he lost weight rapidly and regained his strength," Dr Williams noted.

According to the Organ Donor Foundation, there is a critical shortage of organ donors in South Africa, with approximately 4 300 South Africans on the waiting list for transplants. Swart was extremely lucky because just a few days after being declared fit for surgery, suitable matching donor organs became available and he received a pair of lungs.

Swart was released from hospital roughly a week ago with little to no complications. The date of his operation has not been released to protect the identity of the donor.

No one was happier about Swart's operation than his wife Naomi who recalled the past eight years.

"Before the transplant, we could never go out because Fanie was reliant on an oxygen tank, and now we will be able to," Naomi said.

"As a special Christmas treat I am going to make roast leg of lamb, which Fanie has really been looking forward to. Having my husband home is the best Christmas present I could dream of. I love him very much," Naomi said. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  good news  |  health

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