MANILA—A Filipino healthcare worker from Illinois became one of the first known COVID-19 patients to receive lungs from a COVID-19 donor in the United States.
Renato Aquino, a phlebotomist from Glendale Heights in Illinois, got sick with COVID-19 on May 14, 2020. He rushed himself to hospital after experiencing shortness of breath.
A year after his ordeal, Aquino shared the story of his survival after receiving a double-lung transplant from a donor, who also recovered from COVID-19 before dying.
The donor had cleared the virus after having mild to moderate symptoms.
Aquino underwent a double-lung transplant due to the permanent damage caused by COVID-19 on his lungs. He spent months in the hospital on a ventilator, as his lungs struggled to recover.
By February, Aquino's family transferred him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after learning about their lung transplants.
Although Aquino's lung donor also had COVID-19, his death was unrelated to the illness and their lungs undamaged, making it viable for transplant. Doctors also had to perform several tests to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to the recipient.
Aquino underwent the procedure last February 25, and went home on May 14, exactly a year after he first contracted COVID-19 with his new lungs.
As of Monday, a total of 18,618 overseas Filipinos have contracted COVID-19. Of this number, 11,374 have recovered, while 1,162 have died.