The Daily Reformer
GREENWOOD, Ind. — A local Hoosier becomes the first person in the state to receive a double lung transplant as a result of battling COVID-19. He was on the verge of passing away when his wife came up with the idea.
“I had pretty much come to terms with, you know, me passing away,” admits Kevin Lloyd, “Just told them let me go. Keep me comfortable, and let me go.”
“I called both of my kids, and we met at the hospital discussing basically end of life. We convinced him, “Hey, let’s give it a shot? Let’s go on a ventilator,” explains his wife Debbie, who then took one of his doctors into the hospital hallway, “I suggested to him a lung transplant. Is that even a possibility?”
Both Lloyd and his wife contracted the illness in early January. At the time, he was an active, healthy, 60-year-old man. Turns out he was the ideal candidate for the transplant.
“We factor in one’s age, and underlying health. On baseline, he was in great shape,” explains IU Methodist Dr. Chad Denlinger who was part of Lloyd’s medical team, “It’s really the intense inflammation [from COVID], and fibrosis, that makes this operation particularly challenging.”
He was transferred from Community Health to IU Methodist for the surgery. Only 40 to 50 people in the country have had a double lung transplant as a result of COVID. Kevin is happy to be the first in the state.
“I only had two options, one was a transplant, and one was worse,” smiles Kevin.
“His post-operation recovering has been remarkable,” adds Dr. Denlinger, “Every day he has at home with his wife and his family is borrowed time.”
“Every day I’m getting stronger, and going through the rehab at IU Methodist,” adds Lloyd, “There’s things I can do now I couldn’t have done two weeks ago.”
Lloyd finally came home in mid-March. He will be on immune suppressant medication forever. Doctors say lungs are the most rejected transplanted organs because they aren’t sterile. Dr. Denlinger does believe Kevin will likely never get COVID ever again.