Arizona man receives double lung transplant at St Joseph's Hospital

A cowboy is back in the saddle after receiving a double lung transplant here in Phoenix at St. Joseph's Hospital.

He thought his life was coming to an end before having life-saving surgery.

"I had a 40-year-old body, the only thing that was wrong with me was my lungs," said Richard Jarrard.

72-year-old Jarrard was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis five years ago.

"It's hardening of the lungs and scarring on your lungs, and it can sit there for years," said Jarrard.

It's an idiopathic disease that Dr. Rajat Walia, lung transplant director at St. Joseph's Hospitals says in the beginning leaves patients short of breath.

"It's a very bad disease with a poor diagnosis, and no effective medical treatment," said Dr. Rajat Walia.

After a year, Richard needed an oxygen tank to breathe.

"I just tried to ignore it, but there's no way to ignore it. Your lips are turning purple, and Sharon (his wife) said your lips are turning blue," said Jarrard.

Then the news came he only had several months to live.

"I wasn't ready to die, and I didn't think I was going to die. That's what really woke me up," he said.

So he took action and got a double lung transplant after being on the waiting list for only 20 days at St. Joseph's Hospital. It is something that Dr. Walia prides his department on.

"This is very, very significant for them, that they can be transplanted so quickly by coming to our center," said Walia.

Now, Richard only sees Dr. Walia once every 3-4 months to make sure everything is going smoothly.

"Nobody even knows, I got a new lease on life, now it's wonderful, very good," said Jarrard.

More than 116,000 men, women, and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.
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