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UCF student gets another chance at life with second lung transplant at Florida Hospital

Doctors told Jordan McCaskill that because of cystic fibrosis, she likely wouldn’t live to celebrate her 18th birthday.

But in 2013, when she was 18, Jordan underwent a life-saving lung transplant.

And then, several months ago, McCaskill became ill and learned her body was rejecting those new lungs. She was once again in a critical situation: undergo another lung transplant or die.

A second transplant would be risky and challenging. But a team of physicians at Florida Hospital’s Transplant Institute, led by Dr. Duane Davis, a heart and thoracic surgeon, and pulmonologist Dr. Cynthia Gries, believed they could give McCaskill a third chance at life.

On Oct. 28, McCaskill got her second new set of lungs. And now, she is heading back to her Central Florida home just in time to celebrate one of her favorite holidays.

“It’s definitely going to be a thankful Thanksgiving,” said McCaskill, an English major at the University of Central Florida.

McCaskill said she is thankful for her organ donors and her medical team.

“I want to thank [my doctors] for believing in me and believing that I could survive a second transplant, because it is risky,” she said. “I’m just grateful that they gave me a chance.”

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes lung infections and damages the lungs and digestive system.

Second transplants come with a unique set of challenges, and Gries and Davis, who each specialize in high-risk cases, drew from their collective experience to treat Jordan.

“Her old lungs that she had were failing,” Gries said. “We knew that a transplant was probably her last hope.”

In the weeks since her second transplant, McCaskill has regained her strength and has been able to walk again — something she hadn’t been able to do for weeks.

“This is part of the miracle of transplants,” Davis said.