Some things are beyond belief, though clearly plausible – as the following example illustrates.
A male patient in the US suffering from cystic fibrosis underwent a double lung transplant followed by failure. He was posted for re-transplant but was told that his carbon dioxide levels were too high. However, his physician, who was a well read man and in contact with the bioengineering world decided to go in for something out of the ordinary. A sort of a mini ECMO machine had been developed a few years earlier, for removing carbon dioxide from the lung. Known as the Hemolung RAS, it functions by removing carbon dioxide from and adding oxygen to blood just like a dialysis machine. As it was not approved by the FDA, emergency approval was taken within 24 hrs and the patient put on the machine. Lo and behold, he improved, the carbon dioxide levels reduced to acceptable limits and he was taken up for retransplant!

Some salient points:

  • Cystic fibrosis is a sort of death sentence in general practice in India with only symptomatic treatment available
  • This patient underwent double lung transplant not once but twice
  • Emergency approval applied for and recieved within 24 hours!! (Seems like some sort of dream)
  • As the machine was not available in the US, the doctors incharge personally acquired it from across the border i.e. Canada
  • The patient remained for 20 days on the machine
  • The machine was not recommended for use by any professional society


  • Out of the box thinking is the key
  • Be uptodate in one’s field
  • Persistence and perseverance are essential

The full article can be read here:

Thanks to Dr.Ajay Handa for updating me on this.