For the first time since her double-lung transplant Thursday, doctors allowed Morgan Yoney to wake up a little Monday.
“She’s aware that she’s had the lung transplant and she is very happy,” Morgan’s mother, Tammy Yoney, said Monday afternoon. “She told us last night that she can breathe.”
The 22-year-old Spraggs woman had waited more than two years for her second double-lung transplant, which she finally received last week at UPMC-Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.
Tammy said the doctors have tried to keep Morgan sedated because her chest is still open.
“She needs to rest,” Tammy said. “She’s determined to sit up, but her chest is still open. She’s not out of the woods yet. She’s still listed as critical condition.”
The doctors had to keep her chest open because she’s still on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a machine that takes over the work of the lungs. Tammy said doctors are planning to take her off that machine today and finish the surgery.
“When that happens, they’ll know a little better as to how the lungs are working,” Tammy said. “That’s when we should really start to see progress.”
Tammy said that Morgan’s in some pain, but looks great.
She said that Morgan keeps asking to hold her two-month-old niece Jillian Morgan Dickerson.
“She’s doing as good as can be expected,” Tammy said. “Her doctors have said that she’s ahead of the game.”
At 9 months old, Morgan was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder in which the lungs and digestive system are clogged with mucus, often resulting in the need for liver and lung transplants. She had both in 2010, when she was 15, but three years later, discovered her body was rejecting the lungs.
The two-year wait for lungs has taken a toll on Morgan’s kidneys, and two weeks ago, she was admitted to the intensive care unit at UPMC Presby because her kidneys were functioning below 30 percent. Doctors were considering removing her name from the waiting list for the lung transplant, but instead, Morgan got the call that they found lungs from a donor in Chicago.
The operation took nearly 12 hours Thursday, and thousands of people, from across Southwestern Pennsylvania, swarmed the Morgan’s Army Facebook page to offer her words of love and encouragement.
Tammy said Morgan’s even seen support from people in other countries.
“One person said, ‘I have many celebrities I want to meet, but you’re number one,’” Tammy said. “The best part for me is when people say, ‘I was never an organ donor until I read your story.’ That’s the most important thing—being an organ donor.”
Morgan’s also seen support from the community in her blanket drive for hospital patients.
Last Christmas, Morgan started a campaign to donate blankets to UPMC Presby patients and 147 people got blankets on Christmas that year.
This year, thanks to help from Dollar General and a local drivers club called “Wicked Jeeps WPA,” more than 1,600 blankets have been donated to Morgan’s campaign.
“We didn’t expect the drive to hit that many,” Tammy said. “We were just hoping to be able to cover Presby and we did that probably 10 times over. It’s absolutely incredible.”
Tammy said the extra blankets will go to all the area hospitals, cancer centers and nursing homes.
“I can’t wait to tell Morgan because she’s going to be so excited,” Tammy said. “We got what we wanted for Christmas, so it’s just great that they took her dream and just ran with it.”