Maryland’s Health Matters - St. Joseph - Spring 2017 - 12

SPOTLIGHT:

BETTER BREATHING
FOR COPD SUFFERERS
services, and Jay Menaker,

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary

found the University of

MD, associate professor

disease. "It's a major lung disease that often affects

Maryland, he connected

of surgery and medical

people who are smokers or used to be smokers.

with Taliba Anderson, a

director of the lung resus-

It's not reversible, so they need to learn how to go

lung-transplant administrative

citation unit, where Lia was

about living the most normal life possible," says

assistant, who quickly took

successfully cared for and

Terence Comiskey, MBA, RRT, manager of Respirato-

Lia's medical records into

listed for a lung transplant.

ry Care at UM SJMC. "We recently started a program

After Robert Young

Robert and their 18-

a transplant meeting to start
the review process.

year-old daughter, Telia,

to help COPD patients do that more effectively."
UM SJMC respiratory therapists visit patients in

took a separate flight to

the hospital who have a diagnosis of COPD. "Our

at the Dallas hospital walked

Baltimore and were soon in

goal is to teach them the signs and symptoms of a

into Lia's room and handed

the Shock Trauma Center

COPD attack before it happens so they can prevent

Robert a stack of papers.

with Lia. With about 10

themselves from becoming sick," says Sarah Tencza,

UMMC was going to take

doctors and nurses treating

RRT, a COPD educator. "People with COPD are

Lia with the goal of giving

Lia, Dr. Iacono pulled Robert

prone to getting pneumonia or the flu because their

her a lung transplant.

and Telia into his office

lungs are already compromised. The key is preven-

for a chat.

tion since their lungs are susceptible."

The very next day, a doctor

Lia was put on ECMO, the

"I bought into his confi-

machine that allows her lungs

Tencza teaches patients to recognize the warning

to rest, and three days later

dence. He was so confident

signs and monitor their status daily. If someone is

a special medical jet was

in what he could do," Robert

feeling more tired and needs to use an inhaler more

used to transport Lia from

says. "It boosted my morale,

often, Tencza calls this a yellow day and recom-

Dallas to Baltimore.

because I was mentally gone."

mends the individual limit activity. "A red day is

The key for Lia was to find

when someone is short of breath and has very low

coming off the jet, siren

a donor with the same chest

energy. They should get in touch with their doctor

sounds getting in the

size and blood type, and to

right away or go to an urgent care center.

ambulance, then the next

use plasmapheresis to work

"Patients need to know their triggers for an

thing I remember is everyone

around her high antibodies.

attack, such as cold air or being around smoking.

in pink scrubs around me,"

Within 24 hours of arriving

If cold air is a trigger, put a scarf over your mouth

says Lia, who was uncon-

at UMMC, there was a match.

before you go outside. Pace your activity level and

"I remember cold air

The day after her transplant,

scious much of the time after

don't overdo what you're capable of, but don't

Lia woke up with severe chest

be sedentary either. Keep moving," Tencza advises.

pain and didn't realize she had

"Lazy lungs get pneumonia. Even a little exercise

to the Lung Rescue Unit

gotten new lungs. Lia used her

is very beneficial for COPD."

in the R Adams Cowley

finger to draw lungs on her

"Smoking is very hard to quit," Comiskey adds.

Shock Trauma Center, led by

chest and gave the thumbs-

"UM SJMC offers stop-smoking classes through the

Thomas Scalea, MD, FACS,

down sign. Robert shook his

Baltimore County Department of Health. We are

MCCM, the Honorable

head, but Lia scrunched her

also starting a Better Breathers Club, sponsored by

Francis X. Kelly Distinguished

face in disbelief. After reassur-

the American Lung Association." (See page 14.)

Professor of Trauma

ance that she did, in fact, have

Surgery, physician-in-chief

the surgery, tears rolled down

of the Shock Trauma Center

her face.

being put on life support.
She was transported

"Oh, my goodness,"

at University of Maryland
Medical Center, and UMMS

Lia said. "That's why my

system chief for critical care

chest hurts." 

12  MARYLAND'S HEALTH MATTERS

LEARN MORE
For more information about COPD, the Better Breathers
Club or quitting smoking, call 441-337-1302.

† 
To watch a video about Lia's story, visit umm.edu/TexasMom.


http://www.umm.edu/TexasMom

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland’s Health Matters - St. Joseph - Spring 2017

In This Issue
Maryland’s Health Matters - St. Joseph - Spring 2017 - 1
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Maryland’s Health Matters - St. Joseph - Spring 2017 - 3
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