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Nebraska Medicine's first double lung...

Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 18:50:24-05

In November, Nebraska Medicine announced the start of its lung transplant program, something the hospital hasn't had since 1998.  In January, the hospital performed its first double lung transplant.  

"I think we have a future with my dad, I didn't think we had one before,” said Michelle Sauvageau.

On Monday, 58-year-old Omaha resident Phil Sauvageau was oxygen free and ready to start living life again. 

“Today was probably the first day that we saw him up and moving in real clothes and all cleaned-up and I think we all walked in and were like we haven’t seen dad like this in years,” said Michelle Sauvageau.

Since 2012 Sauvageau has struggled with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a disease that causes scarring of the lungs.  Over the years his condition worsened.

On January 21st, his name was put on the Nebraska Medicine lung transplant list

“I said I’ll see you Saturday and she said what are you talking about and I said I’ll see you Saturday, that's when I am going to have my transplant.  She said okay, we'll make our appointment for three months from now,” said Phil Sauvageau.

Sauvageau didn’t have to wait three months for a new set of lungs, he waited three days.

A match was found and his double lung transplant was performed on January 24th. 

“The donor that allowed this to happen and their family, they're so special,” said Sauvageau. 

Sauvageau wasn’t just grateful for his donor, he is grateful for the opportunity to stay in his hometown for surgery surrounded by his family. 

“For the three weeks they were here, every minute of every day, which made me feel really safe and really comfortable,” said Sauvageau.

After three weeks of recovery, Sauvageau is finally headed home.  There is so much he can’t wait to do, including walking his daughter Michelle down the aisle. 

“Planning this wedding I didn't know if he would be able to walk me down the aisle. I am getting married in April and now it looks like he will be there and that's just great,” said Michelle Sauvageau.