In a rare case, a Canadian woman’s life was saved by removing her lungs for six days while she waited for a transplant.

According to a Guardian report, 32-year-old Melissa Benoit was born with cystic fibrosis, a condition that affected her lungs. The condition can lead to difficulty in breathing, coughing up mucus and frequent lung infections.

CBS reports that in April 2016 she was brought to Toronto General Hospital (TGH) with a severe lung infection. Coughing fits had fractured her ribs, while her lungs were filled with blood, pus and mucous, which had decreased the air supply to her lungs.

b’Melissa Benoit with her daughter | Source: UHN’

Considering her history, the doctors immediately put her on a ventilator but knew that wouldn’t keep her alive for long. The only hope was a lung transplant.

Given her deteriorating condition, the doctors took a bold step– decided to remove her lungs to eliminate the source of bacterial infection.

Dr Shaf Keshavjee, one of the three surgeons who operated on her, said that what helped them was the fact that the woman had only a matter of hours on her hands and whatever had to be done, it had to be done right now, reports Mirror.

Keshavjee adds that during the 13-hour surgery to remove her lungs, they found that her lungs were swollen and filled with mucus.

Hours after the surgery, Benoit’s condition started to improve. A small artificial lung was connected to Benoit’s heart to circulate the oxygen and blood supply.

While the doctors were uncertain about when they would find a healthy pair of lungs for Benoit, a pair became available six days after the surgery.

Benoit underwent a successful surgery and her condition steadily improved. While the entire process damaged one of her kidneys, Benoir still feels grateful and that she has been pulled from the brink of death.    

(Feature image source: UHN)