New clinical and community support for pulmonary fibrosis patients

The Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University is working to make the lives of those with pulmonary fibrosis and their families more comfortable.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that causes patients to get more short of breath over time after lung tissue has been damaged and scarred. The stiff lungs do not function properly to allow gas exchange.

The division’s comprehensive program, launched in 2018, provides patients not only the support of medical professionals but also the support of other individuals in the community who are dealing with the same diagnosis.

Dr. Varsha Taskar, Dr. Joyce Gonzales and Dr. William Davis are the physicians who are the specialists in pulmonary fibrosis, and part of their work in building a comprehensive program was through adding a support group,” said Dr. Shaheen Islam, director of Interventional Pulmonology at Augusta University. “So, not only do you provide the clinical care, but the patients understand their disease better and form a peer group to know about available resources.”

The next pulmonary fibrosis support group takes place Friday, Feb. 8, from 2-4 p.m. and will focus on oxygen therapy. A primary function of these groups is to provide patients the opportunity to talk to each other and clarify their questions and concerns about the disease with others on the same journey.

“We can give them advice, but we haven’t experienced that,” said Islam. “When you’re on the other side of the table, and some patients or a specialist elsewhere will figure out a novel way of treating their symptoms … that’s the whole point.”

Additionally, the program includes a group of specialists from pulmonary, radiology and pathology who meet together monthly to come up with solutions and treatments. This multidisciplinary approach to finding a therapy contributes to Augusta University’s comprehensive program through their commitment to personalized care for patients and their families.

Through the support group, an open exchange of information between patients and physicians and the personalized care provided through the Pulmonary Fibrosis Program, patients and their families can rest assured that their well-being is a priority.

For more information about the support group or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Program contact Angie Harris at 706-721-1790 or Sharon Turner at 706-721-2566.

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Written by
Emily Lacey

Emily Lacey is a writer in the Division of Communications & Marketing at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-6144

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Written by Emily Lacey

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