Jerry Nettles has been a hard worker his entire life. He raised five kids, worked in a machine factory for 24 years and spent his spare time coaching Little League and fixing cars. Unfortunately, his active lifestyle was put on hold when he was diagnosed with COPD and emphysema. Walking, eating and even talking became extremely difficult. Eventually, Jerry was referred to UF Health and added to the transplant waiting list for new lungs.
UF Health thoracic surgeon Dr. Tiago Machuca and UF Health pulmonologist Dr. Andres Pelaez knew Jerry was running out of time. Together they devised a solution to help Jerry receive new lungs as soon as possible, the use of XVIVO lung perfusion. This type of innovative technology is only available in a few transplant centers in the country and helps rehabilitate donor lungs that may have not been viable for transplant otherwise, shortening wait times for lung transplant patients and ultimately saving more lives, including Jerry’s. In March of 2017, he received his new set of lungs and is now breathing easier. He’s back to his active lifestyle, spending time with his family and fixing old cars.