After Lung Transplant, 72-Year-Old Man Gets The Gift Of Life

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — In his hospital room at UCLA, 72 year old Bob O’Rourke is breathing on his own and for the first time in years he’s not attached to an oxygen tank.

It’s been more than a week since he got the call, he would get the lung transplant that would save his life. He has pulmonary fibrosis – a disease that scars and deteriorates the lungs — and eventually takes away the ability to breath. This disease has nothing to do with smoking. O’Rourke was a non-smoker.

A transplant was the only solution. With his wife Sandy by his side he underwent the lung transplant and is doing well.

UCLA surgeon Murray Kwon performed the transplant and says there is a lot to watch in the coming days, weeks and years but this is a good start.

And for Bob O’Rourke all of this attention is quite a change. The man who for decades gave us stories as the publicist for Caltech, now is the story himself. He’s not shying away from it. He wants to make people aware of this devastating disease, and help raise funds for research. He’s working with the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Join the CPF at and help us conquer Pulmonary Fibrosis! Take action on our website advocacy page and start your own fundraising page.

  • Fred Fry

    To Don Ward
    Please provide your contact information

  • Lukas Mckoie

    Please just post it here for everyone to view.
    I have also heard you can heal from any herbal formulae – please visit:
    Thanks, God bless you!

  • henry m palomino

    I have the same desease,any insight you can give me, as I am on oxygen 24/7and have an appointment at June You can call me at 714 637 3654 or e-mail me. Thank you Henry Palomino

  • Sally

    This man ruined his lungs from smoking
    He was 72
    Give life to the young
    Not persons who wasted theirs

    • vonnie

      This man didn’t smoke., or do anything to cause his disease.
      I however, smoked and because I was born premie, lungs not developed At the age of 14 to look cool, I started, now I am payng the price. I am 52. Have been living with this for awhile. I would not have a tranplant, as I would want the young to have the chance I have already lived. But, I can’t judge anyone else. Or the reasons for taking a lung when they are older.
      Sally, don’t be bitter.

    • upset

      Sally this man did NOT smoke and this disease is NOT caused from smoking!!! no matter what the age of this man is he is still someones father, brother, husband etc. it is not up to you who should get the lungs. My father is currently waiting on a set of lungs and there is NO way that I think he should be overlooked for someone younger to have the lungs. Wow!!! I can’t believe people like you and your way of thinking. Really if you have nothing nice to post on sites like this maybe you should just stay away form them!!!

  • brent

    I am 46 years old and have pulmonary fibrosis my self and at times is very hard to deal with. I really wish there was something out there that could take it away but i was told there was nothing that could be done except a transplant. If any one has any info that could help me that would be cool…


    • Donald Ward

      Brent I would like to talk to you about a product that has a very high success rate for your situation please cotact me at or call me at 562-326-8884.

  • Rick Moore

    My dad had pulmonary fibrosis – was diagnosed at UCLA at 74 but was told he was too old to have a lung transplant. He died six months later. I’m kind of surprised a 72-year old would have gotten a transplant.

    • jamie

      My father was 65 and told he was too old for his lung transplant. He died 4 months later. Except for the IPF he was in perfect health. At the same time, in the same hopsital, a well known area homebuilder got a double lung transplant for IPF. He was several years older than my father. We see how this is done now!!!

  • Mishka Michon

    Pulmonary Fibrosis is a complex challenge for patients, doctors and families. The Coalition knows that information and support are critical, and we encourage those writing comments here contact us directly for answers at 888-222-8541. To receive a lung, patients undergo a battery of tests and then the medical team makes a decision based on the qualifications established by that medical center. The Coaltion has no information that anyone is ever given any special consideration – each case is reviewed according to the specifications for transplant in the center involved. It is important to note that the age limit for transplants varies from one institution to another. (Aso please note that pulmonary fibrosis patients are not necessarily smokers – this disease is not a result of a patient’s habits – many non[-smokers are diagnosed with PF.

  • Rob

    My grandfather was saved by university of baltimore medical
    center by a gentleman with thr last name griffin after he was turned away by everyone includig ucla. If you are east coast or willing to travel it is an option all should investigate… With 30 days left to live i saw the most important person in my world given the gift of life bythat man.

  • pieter

    new website on IPF

  • Caltech’s Longtime Publicist Bob O’Rourke Dies At 72 « CBS Los Angeles

    […] POST: » After Lung Transplant, 72-Year-Old Man Gets The Gift Of Life // // Share this No comments […]

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