Interview with Laura Richards

Interviewed by Brielle Gould on November 8, 2002

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

 Laura Richards received a lung transplant in 1998 at Duke Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.  Though she has lived in Ohio all her life, she had to get her transplant at Duke because she was denied in two other cities.  Richards suffers from a genetic form of Emphysema known as Alpha 1.  She was diagnosed at the age of 24, which is young, but she smoked which made the disease hit her at a younger age.   Both her parents as well as her brother suffer from this disease as well.  Her brother also received a transplant, but passed away.  Neither of her parents received transplants, but still remain on oxygen.  At the present time Richards is doing well with her new lung.  At the beginning of November of this year she went back to Duke for a follow-up and is pleased to know that she is in good health and is fine for the time being.

 

Excerpts from Transcript

Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3 | Excerpt 4 | Excerpt 5

Excerpt 1

 

Background:

This first quote exemplifies the idea that it is hard to get approved for a transplant.  Laura Richards tried to be approved by three hospitals and was denied by two of them because of previous problems she had in her life.  I asked her about her evaluations and this is her response:

Excerpt:

Yeah, I did.  I went through evaluations.  Actually I was evaluated at three different places.  Cleveland Clinic, they denied me.  Pittsburgh denied me, and Columbus had started a program up and I was accepted but then the surgeon left.  So from there I went to Duke.

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

 

Richards made this comment when I asked her if she was upset by the fact that she was denied by two hospitals for her transplant.  Her answers show how upsetting and hard it was for her to be rejected.

Excerpt:

Well sure. Just because I felt as though they were playing - if you believe in God - they were playing God.  You know, they were telling me that I wasnít worthy of living, because I had some problems in my past.

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

 

This excerpt shows how excited she was to get her first call for her transplant, though it turned out to be a false alarm.  This quote really exemplifies the fact that it is beyond exciting to know that you may be saved.

 

Excerpt:

The first time I got called of course I was on oxygen and everything, but it was hard to get my breath because you become so excited and nervous.  But the other times it was okay, I was much calmer.

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

This excerpt is interesting because it shows how it is almost hard to be excited or depressed about a transplant because someone must die in order to get a transplant.  I asked her if she was depressed during her waiting period and this is how she responded.

Excerpt:

 

I guess to a point I was.  You know, I wanted to live but yet you donít pray for somebody to die so you can live, you know?

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

 

This excerpt explains how Richards reacted to the final call.  It is interesting how she reacted differently to the first call as she did to this one, which most likely has to do with all the false alarms she dealt with.  I asked her how she felt when she got the final call and she responded with this answer as well as a quote of what she said to her mom, which I found to be touching.

 

Excerpt:

Well, I was calm.  In fact I went in and told my mom I was putting on my shoes and she said, "What are you doing?" and I said, ĎWell Iím going to go get a transplant (laugh) and if you want to come, you can come with me."

 

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For more information, contact Dr. Mary Jo Festle, Associate Professor of History at Elon University.

Email: festle@elon.edu

This page last updated 11/24/02