DENVER (KDVR) — A Northglenn man has officially received a double lung transplant, following months of COVID complications.
Andrew Capen, 33, has been on life support since August, after contracting COVID-19 on a trip from Denver to Corpus Christi, Texas.
“There’s nothing you can do,” Capen told FOX31’s Evan Kruegel in January. “You just sit in a bed, and wait to die.”
Capen’s family says he was uninsured when he got sick, so he has been waiting for a transplant hospital to accept him.
Last week, Capen’s family says they received word he had been accepted for a double lung transplant at Houston Methodist Hospital.
That surgery took place Saturday, and with the help of supplemental oxygen, Capen is breathing on his own.
“When the surgeons came out, it took a long time,” says Andrew’s mother, Brenda. “And he said it was the hardest lung transplant they’d ever done.”
Brenda says her son had been on ECMO, a machine that operates the heart and lungs, since August.
“His lungs were so badly damaged and so badly scarred, the scar tissue causes the lungs to adhere to everything,” she says. “So the description was, rather than just pulling out the old lungs and putting the new lungs in, removing his lungs was like removing wallpaper.”
Andrew is not out of the woods yet, but is breathing on his own for the first time in months, according to family.
“All we can say is thank you to the medical staff, and thank you to the donor and the donor’s family,” says his aunt, Wendy Prinz. “I know that was an amazing gift, that we can never say thank you enough for.”
Capen has been told he’ll need to stay in Texas for another year to begin recovering.