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Texas man in need of lung, searching for donors

Texas man in need of lung, searching for donors
Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 5:55pm

A Texas man with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is searching for a lung.

Gary Tole, 60, was at his healthiest when he was diagnosed with PF in September of 2012.

Tole never smoked, drank, used drugs, and was extremely active.

He first realized something was wrong while skiing in Colorado. Gary had never experienced a shortness of breath while on the slopes until that day.

When he returned to Texas, he went to the doctor thinking he had the beginnings of heart disease.

After months of testing, Gary's doctor diagnosed him with PF.

Pulmonary Fibrosis attacks the softest, most delicate of organs in the human body and turns them into leather.

PF can be idiopathic, which means no known cause, environment can cause the disease, and it can be genetic. 

In Gary's case it was genetic. His mother had the disease and later passed away shortly after the diagnosis.

Gary began the process to be put on the lung transplant list just before Christmas after he underwent two weeks of rigorous testing at a Dallas hospital to make sure he didn't have any other health problems.

He was placed on the list in late January and has been at the top of UT Southwestern's list for more than a month.

Gary must receive lungs from a donor who has A positive or preferably negative blood type. The lungs he will receive must also be completely free from disease.

Distance has also limited lung donations, once lungs are removed, they are only able to be transplanted for two to four hours after being taken out.

All lungs will have to come from the state of Texas or Oklahoma.

Tole's condition has deteriorated and he has been in and our of the hospital since February.

On Thursday, March 13, his oxygen level could not be restored with increased oxygen. Hospital staff placed Tole on a ventilator and he is now unconscious. Even though he is in this condition, he can still undergo a lung transplant.

According to hospital staff, time is limited and the longer he is intubated and fed through a central line, the weaker he becomes.

Tole's family and friends are using Facebook as the ultimate prayer chain and to spread the word of Gary's need for a lung and to increase the awareness about the importance of organ donation.

You can find more information on Gary here:

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