Life Renewed: MD’s 1st Zephyr Valve Lung Implant Patient Shares His Story


(peaceful piano music) – Read the card every time you press “Go”. – [Earl] She’s my little angel. When I’m down, she come
and like, lift me up. – Papa, do you need your oxygen? – [Earl] Yes, Jennea – [Jennea] Okay. – [Linda] Today, she’s a grandma’s girl but she is a Pop-pop’s girl. She’s going to be there for her Pop-pop – [Earl] I’ve got shortness of breath, and just got worse and worse. Just a frightening thing, you confused. One of the things that I used to do I can’t do um anymore, not the way we used to do it. We would go out and we
would walk the whole block. And they told me I had COPD. – COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which under that umbrella are two different disease entities: chronic bronchitis and in the terms of Mr. Brown’s himself, he has emphysema which relates to irreversible
destruction of the lungs over time and mostly due to smoking. The patients themselves feel
like they are suffocating. Most patients end up with a
um, complication, they end up in ICUs and life support
and potentially yes, tragically they die. – Your mind becomes blank, you have to sit, sit, and think of how you going to breath
or get your last breath in. And I uh, what I used to
do, my elbows are dark now from where I used to lay on something, just to bend over so I can get the air out of my lungs. So I had to sit there for a while. You do anything you can to get a last breath
– Last breath – Haven’t been on vacation in 10 years. We vacationed at least two
to three times out of a year before he was sick. And when he got sick, everything just came to a halt. – My family, my wife, and all of us being together, I miss that. We was more like lonely. Being home all the time – [Linda] All the time.
– [Earl] With nothing to do – Because I couldn’t get out there. – [Jennea] Your turn – [Dr. Sarkar] Folks
with severe emphysema, they have difficulties with
daily activities of living. Such as going up and down
stairs in their home, trying to take a shower,
trying to get dressed, even eating. In terms of Mr. Brown,
he even had difficulties with speaking full sentences,
he just had to take short sentences, catch his
breath and then finish. – I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be with my wife or my family much longer. – And I wind up taking him back to Union Memorial we walked through the doors, Dr. Sloan was waiting,
he says “Guess what? They have a new procedure and you can be the first candidate for this procedure, Earl.” (uplifting music) – [Dr. Sarkar] The procedure
Dr. Sloan was referring to was the Zypher Valve, which is a one way valve that’s implanted into the lung in the most diseased portion
of emphysema patients. The idea here is, you take
the most diseased portion that’s hyper – inflated,
and you allow air to be let out of that area, and
collapse it without allowing any further air into it. Once that area totally
collapse, what we have found with studies is that people can then have an improvement in their quality of life by less breathlessness and
increased exercise tolerance. – I thought about the
procedure, then I said I can’t get no worse then what I am, so I’m going to give it a try. (uplifting music) – [Dr. Sarkar] As soon as
his anesthesia wore off, Mr. Brown was speaking full sentences, he was like a new gentleman,
in fact wanted to eat. He noticed the change in ability to speak able to get out of the bed and move around and he wanted to immediately
go out and try and walk with his granddaughter. – Well I was in the
hospital and I realized I was breathing better after the surgery. I had five valves placed. – When it was only supposed to be three. – No pain at all. – First thing Dr. Sarkar said is that you asked to see your granddaughter – [Earl] I couldn’t wait
to get home. (laughs) (upbeat music) – [Linda] He’s getting
out there and a little and watering the flowers
so I’m glad of that part – Got water left? Get that one over there. (upbeat music) – [Earl] She’s a lot happier now. I love back here, nice
to be out here with her doing this thing that we used to do. Because, now I can go
outside sit on them steps take my shower, like I did before. – One week from from being home we went down by the
shed, put the umbrella up – And we sit there and talked and that’s where we’ll sit until night falls there. It was beautiful. It was a beautiful night and I told him I said you know, Earl, I thank you for doing this. I said because we
haven’t been like this in a very, very, long, long time. This is a blessing. This
is truly a blessing. (slow piano music)

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