From Sardinia to Milan: Davide’s lungs save a dying boy for Covid


CAGLIARI. An exceptional transplant, the first in Europe, thanks to an extraordinary gesture of solidarity that comes from Sardinia. Davide Trudu’s lungs that saved the life of an eighteen year old operated at the Policlinico in Milan: those of Francesco (that’s how the very young was called, even if it’s not his real name) had been “burned” by Covid and his conditions were desperate. His fate crossed that of Davide, thirty-year-old from Samassi: on May 17 he died in the Brotzu Resuscitation department after falling from the tractor driven by a friend. A drama. For his family, for his partner Simona, for the entire Samassian community.

But the mother, although shocked by the pain, decided: she said yes to the removal of the organs of that child lost too soon. Others would have lived thanks to him. The liver was donated to a very serious patient in Emilia Romagna. The heart still beats in the body of a young Sardinian woman. And the kidneys were destined for two Sardinians who could free themselves from the slavery of dialysis (HERE THE NEWS). The same day, in the privacy that distinguishes this sector, a team of specialists landed in Cagliari from Milan: lung harvesting is not an ordinary practice in Sardinia. And in Lombardy there was a life that had to be tried to save.

That of Francesco, eighteen years old two weeks before the epidemic exploded in Italy. He was young and healthy, until the virus entered his body on March 2nd. First the fever. Then on March 6, hospitalization in intensive care carried out at the tensile structure of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan due to the aggravation of his conditions. Only two days later he is intubated. His conditions plummet. On 23 March the doctors of the San Raffaele Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit must connect it to the Ecmo machine for extracorporeal circulation: the lungs no longer work. Hopes are few. They come back on when the San Raffaele doctors discuss the case with colleagues from the Thoracic Surgery and Lung Transplantation of the Polyclinic of Milan, directed by Mario Nosotti. Lung transplantation is hypothesized: never attempted before.

The national transplant center is involved, which activates the network of regional centers. And after a first report which unfortunately proves useless, because the organs are not compatible, the call from Sardinia arrives on 18 May. Davide Trudu’s heart had stopped beating at Brotzu and his mother had given permission for the explant. There is no time to lose. The machine activates. Organs fly to the operating room. The surgery is long and difficult, but it is successful: Davide’s lungs give oxygen to Francesco. Thanks to an intervention never attempted before in Europe. And thanks to those who made all this possible: the family members of a thirty year old who is gone.

Now, we read on the website of the Polyclinic of Milan, “Francesco is awake, collaborating, follows physiotherapy and is slowly weaned from the respirator. It will still take some time for him to return to a life as normal as possible, but perhaps the worst is over Now he will have to undergo a long rehabilitation, not so much for the coronavirus infection (from which he has now recovered), but for the 58 days he spent stuck in bed, intubated and assisted by the machines “.

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