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Local man is now breathing new life

First lung transplant in the area

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 9:57pm

Tracy Barnett tried to live a normal life growing up, but there was nothing normal about his failing lungs. He grew up with bronchiectasis and has dealt with the symptons his whole life.

“Mostly just shortness of breath," said Barnett. "Coughing a lot. Being sick a lot. Having pneumonia.”

Doctors had always chalked it up to asthma until one night in a local emergency room.

“It took a small-town doctor in the ER- Mr. Sims, I’ll never forget him, to diagnose it properly," said Tracy's mother.

Barnett was chosen by Scott and White Healthcare to be the first patient in Central Texas to receive a lung transplant.

At least two dozen people leave the area every year for similar procedures.

In fact, no healthcare provider from Dallas to San Antonio offers the surgery.

That is, until now.

Tracy’s surgery in early October went without a hitch.

“I feel amazing . I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life."

Thanks to a group of renowned physicians and a 19 year-old who he will never meet.

“I would just thank them," said Barnett. "Because they had to give their life in order for me to live mine. I think about that a lot. If I could talk to them today I would just tell them how much I appreciate them.”

The first thing Tracy did when he renewed his license, was to make sure he became a donor himself.

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