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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 February, 2019

'I got one lung, the girl got the other lung and the boy got the heart - but I'm the only survivor'

Vera Dwyer (77) had her transplant operation in 1988 in the UK after being diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).


VERA DWYER (77), the world’s longest surviving single lung transplant recipient, was awarded a gold medallion by the Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association today in the Mater Hospital in Dublin. 

It’s been 30 years since Vera received her transplant after being diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), an irreversible, chronic and fatal lung disease that left her bed-bound and reliant on a oxygen machine.

The Co Sligo native was taken to Harefield Hospital in the UK as the transplant procedure wasn’t available in Ireland at the time. It was here that she was told that she only had days to live if a suitable lung wasn’t found in time. 

Luckily, a donor was found (she got one lung, while another female patient got the other and a boy got the heart). Vera made a recovery after relearning how to walk, talk, and eat again after being on the ventilator machine for so long, which atrophied her muscles. 

A mother of four, a grandmother of seven and a great-grandmother of three (as well as a Guinness Book of Records holder) Vera wants to encourage people to sign up as donors. 

Without them [donors] I wouldn’t be here today…but I pray for them every day, and for their families. 

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