Miami-Dade Police officer overcomes COVID-19 and double-lung transplant

MIAMI – Miami-Dade Police officer Frank Sangineto will finally be returning home after recovering from serious complications as a result of COVID-19.

“I owe them my life,” he said.

Sangineto will be discharged from Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at UHealth/Jackson Memorial on Tuesday after spending more than six months in the hospital recovering from COVID-19 and a double-lung transplant.

“He really started from square one, when he woke up he wasn’t even able to life a finger, so the first person I want to point out for overcoming those challenges is Frank himself,” Dr. Brady Anderson said.

On Tuesday, August 17, 2021, Sangineto was taken to Jose Milton Memorial Hospital at Jackson West Medical Center after contracting COVID.

While in the hospital, his condition worsened, and Sangineto was ultimately intubated and placed on a ventilator.

Unfortunately, the ventilator support was not enough to keep him breathing.

A week later, Sangineto was transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital and placed on an ECMO machine, which pumps blood outside of the body to an oxygenator that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to internal tissues.

The goal was to have him remain on ECMO until his lungs recovered and were in a position to take over his respiratory function again.

Due to the permanent damage caused to Sangineto’s lungs during his COVID battle, he needed a double-lung transplant to safely leave the hospital.

In January he underwent a successful operation, led by Tiago Machuca, MD, University of Miami Health System professor of surgery and director of the Lung Center at the Miami Transplant Institute, where he is also director of the adult and pediatric lung transplant.

“The community, everybody all the prayers you gave me it was a motivation to keep me going,” Sangineto said.

Sangineto’s fellow police officers and the medical team gathered in the lobby of Lynn Rehabilitation Center giving him a warm sendoff.

Sangineto will continue receiving physical and occupational therapy as an outpatient at the center.

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.