Parkersburg man looking at long road to recovery after lung transplant

Photo Provided
Wyatt Smith, of Parkersburg, who has cystic fibrosis, recently had a double lung transplant at the UPMC — Presbyterian Hospital.

Photo Provided Wyatt Smith, of Parkersburg, who has cystic fibrosis, recently had a double lung transplant at the UPMC — Presbyterian Hospital.

PARKERSBURG — For Wyatt Smith the road to recovery from a double lung transplant will be a long one.

His mother, Carolyn Smith, said the transplant took place on Sept. 4 at UPMC, Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, and with complications his recovery will probably take longer than average.

“His doctors are not guessing when he will get out,” she said. “His recovery will take longer.”

Smith said after he is out of the hospital that does not mean he will be coming back to Parkersburg. For several months she and Wyatt will be living in an apartment in Pittsburgh, because he will have doctor appointments four to five days each week.

Smith said Wyatt is on a ventilator right now and on his 22nd birthday, Aug. 8, he was moved from the intensive care unit to the cardiothoracic unit, which offers more intense care. There will be two nurses and a doctor with him at all times to monitor his progress.

“It will be a long process and will be even longer with the complications. He has had to battle pneumonia and a bacterial infection that affects how his other organs will function,” she said. “He was put on a ventilator since the new lungs do not know how to function and his muscles are too weak from being in a bed for two months.”

Smith said Wyatt’s immune system does not work and Wyatt is not able to sit up in his bed. Smith said when anyone enters his room they have to wear gowns, masks and gloves.

Smith said the hardest part for them will be living in Pittsburgh away from friends and family, but they knew that would be necessary when he was placed on the transplant list

When they made their most recent trip to Pittsburgh, it was an emergency.

“We came up with our suitcases and little money,” she said. “Wyatt was having his fifth lung collapse. We had to go to Pittsburgh by ambulance. We couldn’t use the Life Flight because the pressure from the flight would have been too much for his lungs at the time.”

Smith said Wyatt enjoys getting cards and he has been receiving several daily.

“I read them to him daily and put them on the wall in his room,” she said.

Smith said they have had help from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a GoFundMe page raised $5,000 for him. Proceeds from the BACF basketball and football games have also helped the Smith family.

A second GoFundMe page has been established and as of Friday $440 of a $35,000 goal has been raised.

“They have helped us,” she said. “I don’t know what we would have done without them.”

Smith said she would like to have a fundraiser for Wyatt in the Parkersburg area, but she’s not sure what has to be done. She said anyone who would be able to help organize an event may contact her at 631 College St., Apt. 1, Pittsburgh, PA 15232.

“Since I’m not there I don’t know what to do,” she said. “A restaurant has talked about a fundraiser where a percentage of the sales would go to help.”

Smith said if anyone is able to help with a fundraiser they can reach her at the address where cards can be sent to Wyatt.

Wyatt is taking a new medication for the disease that it for the most common of the 2,000 mutations of cystic fibrosis. It was approved for use in the United States by the USFDA in July 2015.

If you would like to send a card to Wyatt:

Wyatt Smith,

UPMC — Presbyterian

CTICU — Bed 8,

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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