2015 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Martin Martinez Rosa

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Lung Transplant

Dr. David Sonetti, UW Health pulmonologistMartin Martinez Rosa, 38, became seriously ill very quickly. His recurring fever and frequent vomiting sent him to his community clinic where he received treatment for pneumonia.


The treatment was not working and he was going back and forth between his clinic and home. His doctor thought he might have tuberculosis. His condition continued to get worse as he spent the next several months seeking the correct diagnosis and treatment. Finally, he underwent an open lung biopsy and was diagnosed with silicosis, a respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica dust that can lead to severe scarring of the lungs. He was referred to UW Hospital and Clinics for treatment.


Martin already had severe lung scarring when he met UW Health pulmonologist David Sonetti, MD, and was quickly listed for a double lung transplant. "Martin was very sick," says Dr. Sonetti. "His only option was lung transplantation. Without it, he would have died from respiratory failure within months."


While he waited for his transplant, he spent his days at home breathing with the help of an oxygen tank and struggled with bouts of pneumonia two to three times per month. "I was so worried about my kids," says Martin. "I knew my family needed me but I couldn't do anything except wait."


Martin Martinez Rosa enjoys a little soccer with his family

Thankfully, Martin received the gift of life he was waiting for.


Since his double lung transplant, Martin says his life is getting back to normal, little by little. He is looking forward to resuming an active life and simply being a dad. He's grateful that he can go to the park and get back to playing soccer with his sons, Martin, 5 and Octavio, 7. "They are so happy to have their dad back," says Martin.


"It's incredible to be part of a patient's transplant journey and to see someone like Martin get a second chance at life," says Dr. Sonetti.


Martin and his wife, Dominique, are thankful to his donor and to the staff at UW Hospital and Clinics who cared for Martin. They want others to remain hopeful as they wait for a transplant or deal with an illness.


"We are so happy to have our family together," said Martin. "It can be hard, but don't ever give up hope."