7 Quick Questions: Meet Lung Transplant Doctor Max Weder

Ever wonder what your doctor or health provider does outside the exam room? Our 7 Quick Questions series gives you a personal glimpse into the people of UVA.

April is Donate Life Month. Max Weder, MD, is medical director of UVA’s lung transplant program. image of lung transplant doctor Max Weder

What did you want to be when you were little?

I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a doctor, although I thought I wanted to be a surgeon when I was younger. That changed in medical school.

Where’s your favorite place to travel?

Two very different places: Tuscany and the Outer Banks.

What’s one thing you always have in your fridge?

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

What’s the most unhealthy thing you eat?

See above!

What’s the most exciting thing/research happening in your field right now?

I think that the research on ex vivo lung perfusion is pretty cool. This is a technique where a lung that has been taken out of the donor patient is kept ventilated and perfused under a glass cylinder instead of being transplanted immediately. They could demonstrate that this technique allows lungs to be re-conditioned and successfully transplanted that would otherwise be rejected. This is not considered standard practice yet, but I think it may help to overcome some of the issues that we are having with shortage of suitable donor lungs.

Why lungs?

My first job after graduating from medical school in Germany was at a hospital that specialized in lung disease, and I just stuck with it. Then I met a couple of people during my residency who were real role models, and they were pulmonary and critical care docs. That’s when I decided that I really wanted to do this.

Lung transplant sort of combines the best of pulmonary and critical care. You get to work with really good people, and to see someone who wasn’t able to breathe go back to having a fairly normal life again is absolutely amazing. Not very many people are as lucky as I am.

Who’s your inspiration/hero?

I get inspired by all the wonderful people on my transplant team. They give their absolute best every day. Many of our ICU nurses are heroes for me. Despite all the sickness that they see every day, they haven’t lost their humanity, their compassion and the enthusiasm for what they are doing.

Comments (3)

  1. Al Clausen says:

    I can attest to Dr. Weder’s commitment to his patients. I have IPF but I also have an esophageal problem that may prevent me from getting a lung transplant. Dr. Weder has been very thorough in explaining my condition but also very compassionate at the same time. The team members I have met are wonder professionals and the support group really helps you to cope with your condition. I would not want to go to any other facility for my transplant if I can help it. I am praying that at some point I can have my transplant done at UVA. In addition, I have met Tina Tinsley and the change in her health is remarkable!

  2. Megan Rowe says:

    Thanks for your nice comment, Al. We’ll make sure Dr. Weder sees it.

  3. Donna says:

    My brother Ron just turned 60 and has Pulmonary Fibrosis and needs a lung transplant. He is amazing and actually donated one of his kidneys years ago to extend the life of our father. Now it is Ron’s turn. If he does not get a lung he will die. He is considered a high risk patient because of the previous kidney that he donated, etc. Unfortunately, he was misdiagnosed and the specialist ordered a lung biopsy. At that time (a couple of months ago), he was able to do everything and only had slight breathing issues. After the lung biopsy, the Pulmonary Fibrosis spread like wildfire and he is now on the strongest oxygen and cannot even walk across the room. He is a wonderful loving husband, father and grandfather. He has so much to live for and desperately needs a transplant. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. DJCinOC@gmail.com. Donna

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