After months of waiting, Katie Prager of Flemingsburg has new lungs and is resting comfortably in a Pittsburgh hospital.
Prager's case received national attention because she has cystic fibrosis with a Burkholderia cepacia infection, limiting the number of surgery centers specializing in her condition. Further complicating matters was that Prager's insurance, a combination of Medicare and Medicaid, considered the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center out of network.
That left Prager sick at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, her only in-network option.
In April, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center applied to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services for a limited permit to take Prager's case.
An irony in the case is that Prager's husband, Dalton, had the same condition as his wife. The couple met in 2009 via Facebook and were married in July 2011. Dalton Prager received a double lung transplant in November 2014 through his parents' insurance.
Doctors kept Katie Prager's chest partially open through the weekend as a precaution after her transplant Thursday, but she was scheduled to have her chest wound fully closed later Monday. After that, she is expected to work on sitting up in a chair, according to her mother, Debra Donovan.
Prager, 24, is on a ventilator, but she is writing on a dry-erase board.
"They seem very pleased with how she has progressed so far," Donovan said. "She's been writing since she got out of surgery. I try to read her lips, but it's hard through the (ventilator) tube."
Asked to respond to a reporter's question, Prager wrote on the dry-erase board: "I'm sore, but I'm so, so happy and blessed. God has blessed me so much and I am forever in debt and grateful to my donor and their family."
Debra Donovan said of her daughter: "It's amazing how well she's doing. She looks really well. ... She just looks beautiful."