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Question
Posted by: Janet | 2006/11/01

Punctured lung

Hi Doc
My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to go to Joburg gen for them to draw fluid. In the process they damaged something, and his lung fell flat. We rushed him to hospital when we realised something was wrong, and now it has been almost two weeks and the water drain is still bubbling. They have operated 7 days ago, to do the repair, and are now saying they will have to again. He is 74, has a bad heart and the first op was panicky as they were worried his heart might stop. What are the chances of success for fixing this? And would he survive another op? I am worried sick, please advise.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Janet
The problem with lung cancer is that the cancer causes abnormal fluid forming that squashes the lungs, and also "eat" through the small airways ( bronchi) causing leaking of air and collapsing of the lung. They don't have much choice as he will get infection if he walks around with the drain too long - they are between the devil and the deep blue sea here - all the doctors can do is their best. The operation will be risky - but so will another lung collapse as his heart may not be able to handle the stress....
Thinking of you and hoping he gets better soon.

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