Mr. 500

Mr. 500

Shands at UF lung transplant program performs 500th transplant

By Laura Mize

Members of the Shands at UF lung transplant team pose with Bhowani Sharma, 68, recipient of the hospital's 500th lung transplant. Pictured from left to right are Melissa Kuhlman, Dr. Maher Baz, Dr. Mark Staples, Bhowani Sharma, Racoomarie Sharma and Dave Sharma./Photo by Jesse S. Jones

In December, Bhowani Sharma, a 68-year-old Orlando man, received the 500th lung transplant performed at Shands at UF.

Just two weeks later, Sharma said he was “feeling fine” and excited about news from his surgeon that he could leave the hospital the next day.

Orlando resident Bhowani Sharma, 68, received a new lung in December, marking Shands at UF's 500th lung transplant./Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Edward D. Staples, M.D., an associate professor of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery and surgical director of the program, performed the surgery to give Sharma a new left lung. Maher Baz, M.D., a professor of medicine and director of the Shands at UF Lung Transplant Program, cared for Sharma after the surgery.

The operation was Sharma’s second lung transplant surgery. He received a double lung transplant in September 2008 to treat pulmonary fibrosis but suffered complications, including his body’s rejection of the left lung.

Before his release on Jan. 4, Sharma praised the doctors and nurses for

the personal care they gave him, and said their optimism about his progress

was contagious.

“They treated me with such compassion,” he said.

Staples praised the collaborative efforts of everyone who worked to complete the 500 lung transplants.

“It has truly been a team effort to reach this milestone thanks to the efforts of many UF College of Medicine and Shands staff on our multidisciplinary transplant team,” he said.

In August 2010, UF received a $1 million grant from the state to establish the Florida Lung Transplant Center and fund research on key problems in lung transplantation, namely chronic rejection. In the fall, Shands at UF was one of three U.S. recipients of the 2011 Lung Transplant Excellence Award given by HealthGrades, an independent organization that ranks health-care facilities.