Man survives 2nd case of COVID after double lung transplant

CHICAGO (WLS) - An Illinois man who survived two battles with COVID-19 and a double lung transplant is offering words of encouragement to others as the pandemic continues.

Brian Kuhns returned home from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in 2020 after contracting COVID and surviving a double lung transplant. He needed a wheelchair to move and was confined to his home, taking 40 pills a day.

Now, he’s walking and working.

Man survives 2nd case of COVID after double lung transplant
Brian Kuhns caught COVID in 2020 and needed a double lung transplant. Then, he caught the virus again in 2022. After recovering for a second time, he says he is still pushing forward and others should, too.(Source: Kuhns Family, WLS via CNN)

“I’m working a little bit, just answering the phones, because I’m pretty weak still. I can’t do what I used to do,” Kuhns said.

Still, Kuhns remains optimistic, despite the fact he contracted COVID-19 a second time just this month and was hospitalized for two days.

After his lung transplant in 2020, his doctors gave him a grave warning.

“If I got COVID again, I’d probably die. So, I was scared. So, I didn’t go anywhere, you know what I mean?” Kuhns said.

After recovering from COVID for a second time, Kuhns is once again at Northwestern, this time hospitalized with an infection related to his lung transplant. But he says he is still pushing forward and others should, too.

“Hang in there. Just keep going. Just try to get through it. There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Dr. Sheehan Fisher, a Northwestern psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor. He advises making a plan to manage persistent anxiety over COVID.

“Try to create a plan, weekly and monthly, of what types of activities they will engage in, what types of normalcy can they create, so, they don’t have to make a decision every single time, like almost reinventing the wheel every time. They can follow their guideline of what they feel safe doing,” he said.

Fisher also says to rely on friends and family for support, like Kuhns does.

“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here because they helped me through it all, got me back up on my feet. They did everything,” Kuhns said.

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