First Kentucky patient to receive double lung transplant after getting COVID shares story

Published: Jun. 2, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) - It was winter when COVID sent a Kentucky man to the hospital and he got out of the hospital when it was spring.

Dave Hoover of Stanford, Kentucky said he didn’t realize how serious the coronavirus was until it hit him. The virus destroyed the 43-year-old’s lungs.

Hoover was a healthy husband and father to two children, kept busy with his farm in Stanford. Everything stopped in January when his wife Emily, who is a nurse, knew something was wrong.

”She said my face was blue,” Hoover said. “COVID kind of hit me ... It kind of took me by storm.”

He said the storm felt like it wouldn’t end. Hoover was admitted to the hospital with bilateral COVID pneumonia and put on a ventilator. The only way he could survive was with a bilateral lung transplant.

Hoover was put on a transplant waiting list after the disease did irreparable damage to his lungs.

”We were lucky,” Dr. Maher Baz, the medical director of the Lung Transplant Division of the UK Transplant Center, said. “We got an organ donor in a relative short time. Thirty days is a relative short time.

”Hoover had a double lung transplant at UK Hospital in April of this year. He underwent extensive therapy,” Baz said.

“It almost feels like a dream to me,” Hoover said. “Every step is a blessing. It’s crazy to think some of the things you think like walking ten feet was such a huge accomplishment ... Once I got discharged from the hospital, I have not been on any supplemental oxygen. Considering everything I’ve been through the last four months, I feel really good.”

Hoover said his second chance at life came from someone he had never met.

”None of it would have been possible without our angel donor,” Hoover’s wife said.

Hoover now advocates for those skeptical, like he was, to get the COVID vaccine and is living proof that organ donation saves lives. He said he will get the vaccine himself when doctors give him the green light.

He also said he does not plan to ditch the mask anytime soon.

“For me going forward, wearing a mask will be a part of my life,” Hoover said.

It could be a life with a different perspective, but Hoover said he is grateful.

”This is a God-given miracle that he gave me a second chance at life,” Hoover said.

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