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The first double lung A transplant at Mount Sinai Health System in New York was recently performed on Iron Chef America winner James Kelly. Kelly appeared during the fourth season of the popular cooking show where he helped his brother, chef Peter Kelly, to victory over culinary king Bobby Flay. Kelly is grateful to be part of another victorious team – the new Mount Sinai Lung Transplant Team that has helped New York’s healthcare system reach a milestone.
The surgery took place last March, and Kelly, who is a 58-year-old professional chef from Whitestone, New York, told TSWT News, “I got my double lung transplant on March 3 of this year. You would never know if you see me or talk to me. I don’t even feel like I had major surgery. I owe that to Dr Seethamraju.
Kelly was diagnosed with emphysema and lung disease due to a disease called silicosis. According to Kelly and his doctor, Kelly’s lung disease was linked to exposure at the World Trade Center when he volunteered to distribute meals at Ground Zero to first responders in the days following the September 11 attacks.
Kelly told TSWT News: “I did what I could in the first few days after the towers came down. Like so many others, I went back to work thinking how blessed I was. to be able to help in a small way.”
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In 2004, Kelly told TSWT News that he underwent a lymph node biopsy in his chest which revealed exposure to metals which he attributed to the dust around him at Ground Zero. Kelly has been hospitalized multiple times for lung infections and on May 4, 2019, he was told he needed a double lung transplant. It was then that Kelly sought out and found Dr. Scott Scheinin, MD, FACS, and Dr. Harish Seethamraju, MD.
In an interview recorded just before his surgery at Mount Sinai and given to TSWT News, Kelly described how he waited for the phone to ring, hoping for a lung donor. This call came last winter.
“We went to bed and at 1 a.m. the phone rang,” Kelly recalled in the interview and added, “My wife said it was the call. I said I I’m ready, let’s go.”
Scheinin, who is the director of lung transplantation at Mount Sinai Health System, said in a TSWT News interview that Kelly suffered from emphysema with “an element of silicosis, which is an inflammatory response in the lungs usually to particles of dust and stuff like that, so it fits with the exposure he got with 9/11.”
Scheinin helped launch Mount Sinai’s new lung failure and transplant program and led the surgical team involved in Kelly’s surgery which included transplant pulmonologist Dr. Harish Seethamraju. Since the landmark surgery in March, the team has performed more than half a dozen double lung transplants, a hospital spokesperson told TSWT News.
Scheinin has not only performed over a thousand lung transplants, but is also one of the few surgeons in the world dedicated to performing lung transplants without blood transfusions, which, according to health experts, may promote faster recovery and reduce the risk of lung damage, heart infections. attack and stroke after surgery. He said in the interview that performing Mount Sinai’s first double lung transplant and helping lead the hospital’s new lung transplant program is a new era for the healthcare system.
“Our whole team is ready and we’ve been excited and just happy to get started,” he said in the interview.
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Kelly is thrilled with her new life and said in a TSWT News interview that “it’s been a long wait.” Kelly was full of gratitude for the support he received from his family, doctors and staff.
“It’s humiliating, humiliating, humiliating,” Kelly said in the pre-surgery interview obtained by TSWT News. “To think of someone, the last thing they want to do before they leave is to pass life on to someone else – to think of someone else is…I couldn’t find not the words. It’s amazing, it just leaves me speechless,” Kelly said in the interview.
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As the Iron Chef winner continues to recover, he told TSWT News he’s been grateful over the past three months to see his son receive his second black belt, teach his son to drive, accompanied him to his prom and next week to watch his son graduate from high school.
The chef who graciously thanked his Mount Sinai team said he also plans to perform again and said in the pre-surgical interview: “It gives you a good feeling. I guess like organ donation , it gives you one last good feeling even if you don’t ‘I don’t know who’s going to get it, so I can assure you it’s a beautiful thing.’