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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.

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