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A new beginning

When no suitable organs were available, they decided to use adult cut-down lungs

I had a double lung transplant. Six months previously, I had been sent home from school with a headache. Over the next couple of weeks I progressively became sicker until I was eventually diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia and was ventilated in ICU for a few weeks.

My family, friends and I all thought we were incredibly lucky when I was able to be taken off the ventilator and moved back to the ward. Three months later I was still in hospital and requiring constant oxygen and a wheelchair. At this stage I was diagnosed with end-stage respiratory failure and bronchiolitis obliterans.

This is when the wonderful paediatric team came in to our life. I was accepted onto the transplant waiting list and then transferred to the Children's Hospital for three months while I waited for a donor.

The team had originally planned on a heart/lung or double lung transplant from a child, but when no suitable organs were available, they decided to use adult cut-down lungs. This proved to be a great success.

After six months living in hospital and using a wheelchair, I was able to walk out only ten days after receiving the transplant.

The first couple of days post-transplant were very long and hard, but once I got past these my recovery was a breeze. I stayed a further three months for rehabilitation and then my family and I returned home just in time for Christmas. I returned to full-time school and apart from a few overnight stays in hospital for minor infections, I have been extremely well ever since. We now live on the Central Coast in NSW and I enjoy life to the full!

I have competed in two transplant games, where I have won several medals and experienced great things. My family, friends and I are so grateful that the paediatric lung transplant team exists and know that we owe everything to them.


Nicky Burton