ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) – It’s been a tough three weeks for the family of Hannah Goetz, but now the Isle of Wight teen is getting a second chance at life after receiving a double lung transplant.
Goetz and her family had just returned from a cruise when she got sick. First, it was the flu, but that quickly changed to pneumonia. On top of that, Goetz has cystic fibrosis.
Her family took her to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk.
“After several days in the hospital, they had her on oxygen and she still wasn’t improving and so they intubated her, put her on a respirator and ventilator machine,” said Mindy Poland, who is a family friend and Goetz’s godmother.
However, Goetz was still struggling, so doctors put her on an ECMO machine. They knew she would need a lung transplant, so they sent her to Inova Fairfax hospital in northern Virginia.
However, Goetz was unable to get on the transplant list because of a bacterial infection in her lungs, so the doctors made a tough choice and removed her lungs.
“They decided to remove Hannah’s lungs, which were the source of the infection and by doing so, she would be considered bacteria free and would be able to be placed on the transplant donor list,” said Poland.
That happened on Monday and machines have been helping Goetz breathe since then. A couple days later, the family got the good news: doctors found lungs that were a match.
The lungs arrived at the hospital just before midnight on Friday and doctors did the surgery immediately.
Poland says the 4 1/2 hour surgery went well and Hannah is already showing signs of improvement. She said, “We’ve started to see the first movement we’ve seen in two weeks.”
Goetz’ family knows the next steps are not going to be easy.
“It’s been a long, hard, road,” said Poland. “There’s been so many ups and downs and critical moments when we weren’t sure she would pull through.”
However, they are grateful for the support they’ve received and are asking people to consider donating blood or giving back in some way to help pay it forward.
“As grateful as we are to have compatible lungs and a donor for her to have a second chance at life, it is really heartbreaking for us to know a family had to lose a loved one for us to get that gift,” Poland said. “So to try to cope and deal with that, we’re encouraging people to keep giving life.”
Goetz has a younger brother, Peyton. His birthday is coming up in a few days and his wish was for his sister to get new lungs. The siblings will get to see each other on Saturday.
Goetz graduated from Smithfield High School in the spring and plans to go to Longwood University to become a nurse.