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Bronx Woman Becomes First Patient In World To Successfully Receive New Windpipe

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A Bronx woman was the first patient in the world to successfully receive a new windpipe in a groundbreaking transplant surgery; CBS2's Tony Aiello reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: It's a new groundbreaking transplant surgery.

DICK BRENNAN: A Bronx woman is the first patient in the world to successfully receive a new windpipe. CBS 2's Tony Aiello has more.

TONY AIELLO: Dancing with her grandkids' a dream come true for 56-year-old Sonia Sein, who, a year ago, wondered how much longer she had to live.

SONIA SEIN: It's like, oh, my God. Is this really, really happening?

TONY AIELLO: Mount Sinai says Sein is the first in the world to receive a transplanted trachea or windpipe, replacing hers damaged in 2016 when she was intubated, following a severe asthma attack.

DR. ERIC GENDEN: When they put that tube in she had the tube in for quite some time and it damaged the tracheal airway.

TONY AIELLO: The 18-hour surgery on January 13th involved a team of 50. If it had failed, Sein would likely have died.

DR. ERIC GENDEN: You realize this has to work because if it doesn't work, there's really no place to go moving forward.

TONY AIELLO: The painstaking connection of blood vessels to the donor organ was key to making the transplant work.

DR. ERIC GENDEN: When we saw the organ come to life and we saw the blood supply was intact, we knew we had jumped the first hurdle.

TONY AIELLO: It's a dramatic transplant advancement and timely. COVID intubations are leaving hundreds of patients with damaged windpipes.

DR. ALBERT MERATI: While the number of patients who need this operation today is probably not large, they're out there.

TONY AIELLO: Doctors say Sein is showing no signs of rejecting the new windpipe. And soon, she'll be able to speak normally after a final surgery to close the remaining small hole in her neck.

SONIA SEIN: You all gave me a chance to live again. You all gave me a chance to be with my family one more time. And I really appreciate it.

TONY AIELLO: A life-saving medical milestone. Tony Aiello, CBS 2 News.