Oak Forest woman saved by double lung donation after contracting COVID-19


OAK FOREST, Ill. — An Oak Forest couple is speaking out about a COVID-19 battle that almost stole everything and why their perseverance paid off.

Scott and Laura Bratlien have been married for a long time and like many couples — they had big plans for retirement. Their plans were thrown into flux a few months ago.

It was late April when Laura, who suffers from asthma and already beat cancer, started to feel unwell.

“My O2 meter started reading under 100,” Bratlien said.

So she messaged her daughter the following message.

“I can’t talk anymore, I can hardly breathe, can you call an ambulance for me,” she asked.

A test quickly confirmed what Bratlien said she already knew — she was positive for COVID-19.

“I was admitted Mother’s Day and I’m still hospitalized as of now,” Bratlien said. “I developed a hole in my lungs, my lungs were just trashed. For me, it was like breathing through two little cocktail sticks.”

All of that led to a heartbreaking conversation for the couple. Bratlien’s doctor said that she likely was not going to make it.

“It took me a minute to let that sink in, so I said ‘would she be a candidate for a lung transplant?'” Scott Bratlien said. “He thought about it for a minute and said things like that take time, she doesn’t have that much time.”

But a fire had been lit in Scott and after doing a lot of legwork, a call came in from Northwestern. Earlier this month, there were new lungs for Laura.

“Just the thought of lying in bed, thinking I’m going to leave my family,” Bratlien said. “That’s not something I wish on anyone.”

While she was fully vaccinated before contracting the virus, the couple is glad she got the shots.

“I truly believe if she hadn’t been vaccinated she wouldn’t have made it past the first week of fighting this,” Scott Bratlien said.

A GoFundMe has raised over $6,500 of its $30,000 goal.

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