Phoenix area doctor grateful for lung transplant after battle against COVID-19 | Featured Articles

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A Valley doctor thanks after a remarkable recovery from contracting COVID-19. His lungs were in such bad shape that he needed a transplant. The risky procedure ultimately saved his life.

Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center staff celebrates that Dr. Bernie Yee is finally released from the hospital after the lung transplant that saved his life. “As a recipient of an organ transplant, it’s the donor family who are clearly extremely generous and I can’t thank you enough,” Yee said.






Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center staff celebrates that Dr. Bernie Yee is finally released from the hospital.




Yee contracted COVID-19 late last year and while he wasn’t at high risk, he got really sick. “I’m a fairly healthy man. I had high cholesterol but really nothing else. I had no diabetes, no hypertension was maybe 10 to 15 pounds overweight but that’s all. Fairly healthy, never been sick a day in my life,” said Jee.

He spent months in the hospital battling COVID-19, including some time in a coma. When he awoke, it became clear. His lungs wouldn’t last. “They did multiple CT scans on my chest and it looked like my lungs were getting worse, so they got closer with a lung transplant,” Yee said.

Six months after the transplant, his wife was by his side every step of the way to help him through his recovery. “We walk a few miles every day. We do weights. Hopefully we’ll travel by car. The family lives in San Francisco,” said Bernie Yee’s wife Lily Yee.






Yees celebrate 40 years

The two celebrated major milestones as Bernie struggled with health issues.




The two celebrated major milestones as Bernie struggled with health issues. “We are celebrating our 40th anniversary at Acute Rehab,” said Lily.

Bernie’s doctor at St. Joseph’s said a lung transplant is risky and seen as a last resort. “The average survival rate after a lung transplant at one year is pretty good, the range from low to mid 90%, but after five years the average survival is about 55%,” says Dr. Rajat Walia, of Dignity Health St Joseph’s Hospital. and Medical Center.

But Bernie is grateful for where he is now. “Based on what I ran into, this is probably the best result I could hope for, so if I had to do it again in the same situation, I would have gone this way too,” he said.


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