This Boise woman survived a double lung transplant. COVID-19 has her fighting for life

Sharon Fraker.jpg
Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 13:51:38-04

This article was originally published by Ruth Brown in the Idaho Statesman.

When Sharon Fraker had a double lung transplant three years ago, she got a “new lease on life.”

Now she is fighting for another, the result of COVID-19.

Fraker, 70, of Boise, is in the intensive care unit of the St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center, largely being kept alive by a ventilator.

Fraker’s son, Jeff Soderquist, said his mother went 11 days symptom-free, but by day 12 after testing positive, she was struggling to breathe.

“She was blessed enough to get a lung transplant in Arizona three years ago and she’s been doing great,” he said in an interview provided by St. Luke’s Health System. “She had a new lease on life.”

Soderquist said his mom tried to be very careful about not contracting the coronavirus because she was very ill prior to the transplant.

“She was petrified she was gonna get sick because she knew she had a compromised immune system,” he said.

She ultimately contracted the virus from a very good, trusted friend, her son said.

Fraker now has paralysis and is on a ventilator, and doctors have told her son that she might be the sickest person in the hospital. Her health is not improving.

Nancy Roberts, a St. Luke’s respiratory therapist, said in an interview provided by the hospital that she treated Fraker when she was admitted to the emergency room.

“She was so scared because she didn’t want to let her (lung) donor down by getting this virus and maybe something fatal happening to her,” Roberts said.

Soderquist acknowledged that at first, he was skeptical about the benefits of masks in preventing the spread of the virus, but his views have changed. He encourages other people to wear masks to protect people who might be immunocompromised, like his mother.

“I don’t personally like to wear a mask, but after all this, I have been wearing my mask, just because ... I don’t want to get somebody else sick,” he said. “If heaven forbid I get somebody else sick, I would feel horrible, so to help other people, I think it’s worth it.”

Soderquist described his mom as someone who “lights up a room.”

“In my mind she was pretty healthy,” he said. “So I know there’s a lot of people out there who were not near as healthy as she was. I hate to think about what would happen to them” if they contracted the virus.