TEMPLE (January 23, 2013)—Scott & White Hospital in Temple announced Wednesday at a news conference that it has performed the first lung transplant in Central Texas.
The recipient of the transplant performed in early October was Tracy Barnett, 25, of Giddings, who was born with a lung disease that forced him to use oxygen.
Barnett expressed his gratitude to the doctors Wednesday and said he was glad he was able to get back to his hobby of dancing.
Scott & White now has the only lung transplant program between Dallas and San Antonio, the hospital said.
"This is a great milestone for Scott & White Healthcare, and for the patients of Central Texas," said Juan F. Sanchez, MD, medical director for the lung transplant program at Scott & White Healthcare.
"At least two dozen patients have to leave Central Texas every year to receive a lung transplant. Now those patients have an opportunity to receive this life-restoring level of care close to home," he said.
"The ability to offer lung transplantation to our patients is amazing," said Heath White, D.O., a pulmonary medicine specialist at Scott & White.
"In general, these patients have no treatment options left for their lungs. They are at risk of dying from their lung disease and most have limited quality of life because of this. Lung transplantation not only offers them a chance to live longer but it also gives them their quality of life back."
Doctors said Wednesday they are hoping to perform 10 lung transplants in 12 months for Medicare approval.
(Rachel Cox contributed to this story)