‘Thank you for saving my life,’ says COVID man after Zabrze surgeons carry out world’s second-only double lung transplant

Grzegorz Lipiński was rushed to hospital after being struck down by the killer virus in August. Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Surgeons in Zabrze have entered the history books after becoming only the second medical team in the world to successfully carry out a double lung transplant on a patient infected with COVID-19.

Grzegorz Lipiński from Tychy was struck down by the killer virus in August.

He was rushed to hospital but his lungs had failed so badly that they weren’t even showing up on x-rays.

The 45-year-old was transferred to the Silesian Centre for Heart Diseases in Zabrze after his lungs stopped showing up on X-rays.Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

The 45-year-old was taken to hospital in Krakow where he was put on life support before finally being transferred to the Silesian Centre for Heart Diseases in Zabrze for the transplant operation.

One of the surgeons who helped carry out the life-saving transplant, Dr. Marek Ochman, earlier said: “The patient's lungs were not functioning at all. Their work was replaced by a device for extracorporeal blood oxygenation.”

Professor Marian Zembala, General Director of the Silesian Centre for Heart Diseases in Zabrze, urged people to continue wearing masks.Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

He added: “This case shows that we must all be very careful, because even young, healthy people this disease can damage the lungs in an irreversible and sometimes dramatic way.”

At a press conference today, Lipiński, who is set to leave hospital tomorrow, thanked doctors at the three different hospitals who helped him during the various stages of his infection, adding: "I feel very well. Thank you to all the teams for saving my life."

Grateful Grzegorz thanked all the doctors and surgeons who had helped save his life.Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Professor Marian Zembala, General Director of the Silesian Centre for Heart Diseases in Zabrze, said: “We want to convey the good news from Zabrze that there is help, even in a dramatic situation, and you have to remember it and be proud of it, but let's try and avoid such situations.

“The most important thing is to remember about wearing a mask every day.”

Grzegorz will be allowed to return to his family and loved one in Tychy after he is discharged from hospital tomorrow.Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

The first double lung transplant happened in Chicago in June and since Lipiński’s successful surgery there have been similar operations in Mexico and India with further patients receiving the surgery in America.