Pittsburgh father survives 317 days in hospital, double lung transplant – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Jim Kolovos filled his day with work, his hockey team and his family until everything changed.

“I contracted COVID towards the end of February 2021 and was hospitalized on March 2,” said Kolovos, a resident of Mars.

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Just weeks before his first vaccine, he landed on a machine at UPMC Presbyterian to keep his heart and lungs pumping.


(Image credit: KDKA)

“It was really awful,” he said. “Their oxygen levels would be 100 percent, but I had a feeling it was 20 percent. All that shortness of breath, that was really, really hard.”

After six months in the hospital with no improvement, he boarded a plane to Chicago. dr Ankit Bharat, a transplant surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, believed he could save the father of two.

“It really underscores that sometimes you just have to try,” Bharat said. “And without trying, you don’t know if the patient is going to have a good outcome or not.”

When other doctors wanted to stop treatment, Bharat enrolled for a double lung transplant.

“He was extremely motivated,” said the doctor. “He had a very supportive family that was with him and I think they played a very big part in that result.”

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Kolovos survived the operation, beating all odds.

“When I was able to breathe clearly with my new lungs without a ventilator, oh my god, that was just amazing,” Kolovos said.

Kolovos began rehab in Chicago and graduated from standing to riding a bike to walking with two bums.

“I signed up early,” he says. “I knew this was going to be a long road, but I was ready to fight very hard. I didn’t want to see my kids growing up without a father and being sad and having to go through it.”

Now he walks alone and is forever grateful to the doctors who believed in him, his children and his wife Lauren.

“I’ll be in Chicago by the end of summer, maybe fall,” Jim said. “So I’m looking forward to that special moment when I get back home.”

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller asked him what he wanted from Pittsburgh.

“You always go for a Primati sandwich. So I’m sure I’ll be going to Primati pretty quickly. And I can’t wait to be back in my own home with my family and enjoy the way it used to be.”

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Jim is hoping to settle into his home before the first Steelers game airs on TV this fall. Pittsburgh father survives 317 days in hospital, double lung transplant – CBS Pittsburgh


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