Dad who started smoking aged 9 unable to walk as both lungs start shutting down

A bloke who started smoking at age nine and whose habit saw him go through 20 cigs a day was left unable to walk when his lungs started shutting down.

Daniel Doherty, 38, was in Aston Villa's academy as a young child and when he was unable to get transport to the club's training ground, he had to stop and then the smoking habit escalated. Now a father of five, Daniel is recovering from a 13-hour operation that 'saved his life' and got him out of a wheelchair.

Daniel's habit caused breathing problems, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and type 2 respiratory failure, which left him unable to walk. He became so ill he feared for his life.

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But things are looking up since the grandfather underwent a double lung transplant, of which less than one 100 are carried out each year.

The former warehouse worker had spent years in and out of Walsall Manor Hospital as he underwent a tracheostomy, had treatment for COPD, respiratory failure and his addiction.

Staff referred the dad to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak, Birmingham, for the double lung transplant after Daniel was on a waiting list. It was finally performed on May 30 this year.

Speaking from his home in Walsall, West Midlands, Daniel told the Mirror: "I understand why people smoke because it’s an addiction and I’ve been there, but if people had been in my position having had two comas, a tracheostomy and not being able to breathe, they might think differently.

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"Unfortunately, you can’t see the terrible damage you’re doing to your body by smoking."

By the time Daniel had his crucial operation, he had given up smoking altogether. Now, although he doesn't know the donor, he'd like to thank the man – a non-smoker from Newcastle – for saving his life.

The ex warehouse operative continued: "Before my operation, I didn’t enough know about the possibility of a transplant and thought I was going to die. I was a right mess. I don’t know the donor but I’d like to write him a letter of thanks because he saved my life… By the time I had my transplant I couldn’t bear to be near smoke – I’d have to cover my face when I was near it."

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