La Crosse man receives rare organ transplant after 24 hours on the wait list

La Crosse man receives rare heart and lung transplant after one day on the wait list
La Crosse man receives rare heart and lung transplant after one day on the wait list(UW Health)
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 4:12 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison doctors say a La Crosse man received a second chance at life this March after his wait for lifesaving organs ended less than 24 hours after being placed on the transplant waiting list.

UW Health explained that Daniel Milburn, 24, began having shortness of breath in March and thought it was just asthma. However, Milburn’s symptoms were actually the result of a rare pulmonary disease that left him needing a double lung and heart transplant to survive.

After being taken to a hospital in La Crosse, UW Health stated doctors realized he would need more than the treatment they were giving him. Milburn was transferred to University Hospital in Madison, given therapies to clinically stabilize him and then put on the organ donation waitlist.

Dr. Erin Lowery, medical director for UW Health’s Lung Transplant program, said they knew the clock was ticking on getting Milburn what he needed to survive.

“It was a herculean effort that required incredible coordination between multiple programs across the organization, and I’m really proud not only of the expertise we have here at UW Health but of the way we all worked together to save this young man’s life,” said Dr. Lowery.

Within 24 hours, Milburn’s wait was over.

The hospital system noted that while they have a relatively short wait time for lung transplants, the timeline was surprising to doctors.

Milburn was able to become the first patient at UW Health since 2008 to receive a heart and lung transplant, as well as be the 15th multi-organ transplant in the program’s history.

Milburn’s mother Ronda said she was overwhelmed by the support her and her son received during his time at University Hospital.

“It was just so obvious that everyone we encountered at UW Health was all in from the start, and it was comforting to feel that no matter what happened to my son this hospital was going to do whatever it took to get the best outcome for Daniel,” she said.

The hospital noted that Milburn’s recovery is going well since receiving his transplant on Easter Sunday this year. He is able to go on 40-minute walks each day with his mom, exercise and is looking to get back to work soon.

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