Lawrence County woman remains in fair condition following rare transplant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

COLUMBUS - More than three months after undergoing a rare, double lung-heart transplant, Michelle "Shelly" Vulhop remains in fair condition at the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.

The road to recovery has not been without its potholes, according to Vulhop's aunt, Lana Miller. She said her niece has endured a bout of bacterial pneumonia and other setbacks in the months since her surgery.

"I can't tell you how many times they have put her on the respirator and then have taken her off of it," Miller said. "They just took her off it the last time a day or two ago."

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Miller said Vulhop's mother, Rachel Vulhop has not left her only daughter's side since she had the surgery. She said those who wish to contribute money to help defray the cost of Rachel Vulhop's expenses may send contributions to her at the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio 43210.

Miller suggested that local churches or organizations may consider a fund-raiser for this purpose. Rachel Vulhop has been unable to work during her daughter's recuperation.

In February, Vulhop, 34, became the first person to have the double lung heart transplant in central Ohio.

She was born with a heart defect known as double outlet right ventricle, and developed severe pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure because of it.

She had been on a waiting list of organ transplants six years prior to her surgery and had been at the top of the list of receive donated organs for two years prior to it.