PHOENIX — One Valley woman can breathe a little easier this Thanksgiving as St. Joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute reaches its 500th lung transplant.
“Thanksgiving, what a time to be grateful,” said 67-year-old Robin Ritchie, barely a month after becoming the 500th lung transplant recipient at the hospital in just 10 years.
“I would like to live long enough for all of my grandchildren to remember me,” she said. “They’re a great deal of my impetus to have the transplant.”
Ritchie was told she was losing her battle with end stage lung disease. The doctor said she was one hospital stay away from dying.
“I said ‘Well, what can we do?’” Ritchie said. “He said, ‘I think you should have a lung transplant.’”
The doctor recommended St. Joseph’s, which is now doing almost three transplants a week, and 107 patients already just this year.
After Ritchie and her husband relocated to Phoenix, she underwent the double lung transplant.
Ritchie had been on oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a long time, and now?
“The difference you feel is being able to breathe in a way that you haven’t been able to do for years and years and years,” she said.
St. Joseph’s Norton Thoracic Institute is the busiest in the western United States, performing more lung transplants than any institution in Arizona history.
“I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to have a new lease on life,” she said.
Ritchie went on to praise the staff at the hospital, emphasizing on their kindness. She also was thankful for her family’s continuous support throughout the process.
“But I am particularly appreciative of my donor and my donor’s family for such a wonderful gift,” she said.
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