Family hoping for a miracle as daughter awaits double lung transplant

Family hoping for miracle as daughter awaits double lung transplant

"In the last 10 days she's basically been on life support," said Nick O'Hara.

Ashland, Massachusetts native Caitlin O’Hara was diagnosed at the age of 2 with cystic fibrosis, a disease that primarily affects the lungs.

Caitlin, now 33, desperately needs a double lung transplant.

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“Last week she was listed as the sickest person on the lung transplant list in the United States,” said Nick.

Caitlin's father said Boston hospitals refused to put her on their transplant lists because she was a high-risk patient.

The family is now in Pittsburgh, where a hospital has agreed to do the surgery if lungs become available. But that's the other part of the problem.

“If she was, like, 6 feet tall we probably wouldn't have a problem getting lungs,” said Nick.

But Caitlin is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and her size makes it difficult to find a suitable donor. There just aren't that many lungs available.

The New England Organ Bank said more than 1,400 patients are waiting for lungs, and 200 of those patients will die waiting each year.

Criteria for getting a lung transplant include survival benefit, medical urgency, waiting time and distance from the donor hospital.

“She's a wonderful person. Just a wonderful person,” said longtime friend Laura Kelly.

Laura met Caitlin when she was a toddler. 

“Everyone needs to be hopeful for Caitlin right now. That's what she wants us to be. And to continue the prayers and support of this family during this time until she gets her lungs,” said Laura.

Nick knows that time is running out for his daughter. 

“I mean they pull these kids make them go to the death's door and try to pull them off that door and some make it and some don't,” said Nick.

In this season of miracles, Nick is praying his daughter makes it.