Naples man receives double-lung transplant after contracting COVID

Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Karen and David Wilkinson
Karen and David Wilkinson

A Naples man had to get a double-lung transplant after he contracted COVID-19. But he tells WINK News it was really music that helped him get his life back after the surgery.

To breathe in and even to sing to a miracle for David Wilkinson of Naples. “I realized that it’s a semi sneaky way to get you to focus on breath control, and on getting used to your new lungs,” said Wilkinson.

A miracle is what he calls the lung transplant he received after an intense battle with COVID-19. “When I arrived in Orlando, I couldn’t hold my own head off the bed,” Wilkinson said.

David and his wife Karen believe that God sent them angels in the form of doctors, Dr. Cynthia Gries being one of them. “We did his transplant and took those lungs out and we looked at them. I mean, they were so scarred down,” Dr. Gries said.

“I knew we were making the right decision when we move forward because he was just so sick,” said Dr. Gries.

But, in addition, to the surgery itself, there was music therapy involved. Wilkson said, “I met Hannah, who’s an angel.”

Hannah Warner is the music therapist. “I would select specific songs that have extended phrases in them that have changing melodies and use utilizing the musical elements too slowly and gradually improve breath support over time,” said Warner.

The Wilkinsons say God works in mysterious ways. “We have a rainbow with an angel cloud over our house,” said Karen. “For Hannah to come in and be able to give us music back and say that I think the whole room cried. The first time we all sang together.”

“There were there was laughter there were tears. There were like he said, sleeping soothing. Just it gave me my David back,” Karen said.

“You know, I’m recovering well, I’m still continuing with pulmonary rehab. But I don’t require oxygen, I don’t get shorter breath walking or exercising. No other organ was affected,” Wilkinson said.

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