Orlando man gets fresh start as Shands celebrates 500th lung transplant milestone

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 3, 2010)—Shands at the University of Florida recently celebrated a new milestone and gave a patient a fresh lease on life in time for the new year. Orlando resident Bhowani Sharma received a new lung, marking the hospital’s 500th lung transplant since 1994.

Sharma, 68, is enjoying a quick recovery and will leave the hospital tomorrow. His surgery was the hospital’s 29th and final lung transplant of 2010.

“Everything just fell into place,” said Bhowani’s wife, Rajcoomarie Sharma. “It’s a real blessing and he’s doing well. When you’re here in the hospital, the transplant team and staff are like family.”

Sharma received his first lung transplant in 2008 after suffering from pulmonary fibrosis. He experienced complications, including chronic organ rejection. Fifty percent of transplant recipients experience organ rejection within five years of transplantation.

“It has truly been a team effort to reach this milestone thanks to the efforts of many UF College of Medicine and Shands staff on our multi-disciplinary transplant team,” said Edward D. Staples, M.D., UF College of Medicine associate professor of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and surgical director of the lung transplant program.

Maher Baz, M.D., UF College of Medicine professor of medicine and medical director of the lung transplant program added, “Thanks to organ donors and their families, patients like Mr. Sharma are given another chance. It is our privilege to serve transplant patients who receive this gift of life.”