Transplant Recipient Groft Never Regretted Ordeal

June 26, 1991|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff writer

MANCHESTER — Two short months free from an oxygen tank were enough time to complete what Charles W. "Bud" Groft Jr. wanted to do.

Family members say the 51-year-old Manchester resident never regretted the double-lungtransplant he received in August that indirectly took his life Saturday.

Groft had developed stomach ulcers from the medication he took tofight organ rejection and died from an infection after ulcer surgeryat Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

However, the avid outdoorsman was able to drive to visit friends, take his grandsons hunting and enjoy time with his horse Echo between the time he regained his strength from the transplant and became ill again in February.

"He didn't accomplish everything, but he did more than he thought he would," said his daughter, Brenda. "He told me that everything he went through was worth it for those two months."

Groft suffered from a deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin, an enzyme that controls the lungs' self-cleaning action.

Normally, this enzyme breaks down elastinase, a chemical which scours the lungs by breaking down some of the elastic tissue.

Groft's lungs, however, were "scrubbing themselves to death," he had said.

The illness forced Groft to retire in 1982 after 17 years at Condon's Auto Parts in Westminster.

Eventually, he had to use an oxygen tank 24 hours a day.

In March 1990, Groft was admitted to the Barnes Hospital in St. Louis to receive his double-lung transplant from Dr. Joel Cooper.

Dr. David A. Mishkin, Groft's pulmonary specialist who practices in Baltimore, said Barnes then wasthe closest facility for patients who need only their lungs transplanted.

Hopkins' program for single-lung transplants started this spring, said Katy Robbins of the hospital's public affairs office.

After waiting four months for a suitable donor, Groft underwent successful surgery. He was able to return to Carroll in November, just before Thanksgiving.

Finances were strained while paying for Groft to stay in St. Louis before and after the transplant, and transportationfor him and those who cared for him during the initial recovery period.

Various community and civic groups raised money for the family, and Taneytown residents had sponsored a yard sale for the Grofts inSeptember.

Family members said they are grateful for the emotional and financial support the community offered during Groft's surgery and recovery.

"The money was not wasted," said Brenda. "He thoughtit was worth it, and the community helped make that possible. He would want to thank them if he could."

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