New Lungs for a New Year for a Local 24-Year-Old Student

January 31, 2013

New Lungs for a New Year for a Local 24-Year-Old Student

Florida Hospital's newly established lung transplant team gives new life to local patients


ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 24, 2013 -In just its first six months of existence, the Florida Hospital lung transplant team has given 10 Central Florida patients the ability to breathe easier.  One of those patients is Brent Snyder, 24, who got two new lungs just before Christmas and is already back home studying to take some final exams he missed because of the transplant.  Brent is an honor roll student at ITT Tech, but a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis has slowed his ability to do even the most simplistic of tasks many of us take for granted. 

 "For patients with cystic fibrosis, it's almost as if they have pneumonia all of the time," said Dr. Hartmuth Bittner, Florida Hospital lung transplant surgical director.  "Cystic fibrosis is a condition that causes the body to produce a thick mucus in the lungs that makes it difficult to breath.  For many of these patients lung transplantation is the best option for a normal life."

"Before the transplant, I was on oxygen 24/7," said Brent.  "I couldn't walk from the bed to the kitchen without feeling like I had just run a marathon.  I was 23, but I felt like I was 83."

Through the generous gift of organ donation, Brent has two new lungs and recovering very rapidly...even pleasantly surprising his physicians with his speedy recovery.

"The waiting time for a lung transplant in Florida is six to seven months," said Dr. Andres Pelaez, Florida Hospital lung transplant medical director.  "It took us less than two months to find lungs for Brent.  Plus he was able to have this transplant and pre- and post-transplant treatment close to home.  Just six months ago, that would not have been possible."

Florida Hospital's lung transplant program received approval to launch in July 2012 under the physician leadership of Dr. Hartmuth Bittner and Dr. Andres Pelaez.

"The addition of lung transplantation to the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute completes a nearly 40 year vision of providing comprehensive organ transplantation service to the people of Central Florida," said David Banks, administrator at Florida Hospital Orlando. 

The Florida Hospital Transplant Institute performed Central Florida's first kidney transplant  39 years ago and is the area's only transplant facility transplanting multiple organs; the pancreas, the liver, the kidneys, the heart and now the lungs. 


"I hate that someone had to lose their life so I could continue to live," said Brent.  "But I am so grateful that there are people out there willing to become organ donors so people like me can have a second chance at life."

Watch a video to see more of Brent's story in his own words.  To become an organ donor, visit  Download video from the operating room and interviews with Brent and his doctors at


For more information, contact the Florida Hospital Media Relations Team at 407-303-8217.


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