Lung transplant program closing

24 surgeries performed since August 2012

Lung transplant program 7
Lung transplant program 7

CENTRAL FLORIDA – The one-of-its-kind lung-transplant program at Florida Hospital is closing it's doors, forcing patients to go on waiting lists in other cities.

Hospital officials claim they don't have enough surgeons to continue the program.

"With one of our lung transplant surgeons leaving, we are unable to provide the level of service that is needed. As a result, we are temporarily putting this program on hold," said Samantha O'Lenick in a statement to Local 6.

The program debuted in August 2012. Since then, surgeons have performed 24 lung transplants.

Shelby Harrison, 18, is one of seven patients on a waiting list for new lungs, and will now have to start all over again at a new center.

"Now we have to learn a whole new group of doctors, a whole new group of surgeons, and you know, specialists, that's kind of hard too," Harrison said. "You lose track of all the doctors you end up meeting after so long."

O'Lenick said the hospital is looking for a new surgeon, and they hope to reactivate the program soon. In the meantime, Harrison said she is hoping to get on the transplant list at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. It's further from home, but closer to new lungs.

"I'm really hoping I get them in time to be able to go to college a lot sooner. I want to go to college," Harrison said. "I also don't want to have to be in and out of the hospital with college, so if I could get lungs and be able to go to college properly, that'd be nice."

Click here to support Harrison and her family with costs associated with her transplant.