"Freedom!" Murphy said. "I figure I was like that for over a year when I couldn't do anything. Or three years. And then as soon as he did it, I was walking around the hospital. I was ready to leave the next day."
"COPD or Emphysema is a disease that we've struggled to treat for a long time, and for quite some time we haven't been able to do anything else for all these patients except maybe refer for lung transplant," said Dr. Brian McDonald.
Now there's another option.
Ellis Medicine is the first in the region to offer this FDA-approved new Zephyr valve treatment for patients with severe COPD and emphysema.
It is minimally invasive.
"This new process, bronchoscopic lung volume reduction, allows us to get the same result without having to open the chest at all," said Dr. Brian McDonald.
Dr. McDonald and Dr. Ahmed Khan are with Schenectady Pulmonary and Critical Care Associates, and they practice at Ellis Hospital.
"We're fortunate in being able to be the first to bring this to the region, because this is a therapy that gives significant improvement to patients that have severe COPD that oftentimes have no other avenue left. They're already on medications, they're seeing physicians," said Dr. Khan.
For eligible patients, doctors say it can help with breathing, exercise, and overall quality of life.
Thomas Murphy's friends are amazed at the change.
"They think—they can't believe it," said Murphy. "They thought I was going to die because I was gray when I came in."
Patients can be evaluated to see if they're a candidate through their doctor, or at the Schenectady Pulmonary practice directly.
"If you want your life, and if you want to move around or go for a walk—we couldn't even walk through a mall before the operation," said Murphy. "Now I can walk through a mall. I can do just about anything."
Click here to view the article and hear Thomas' story.