A Sutherlin man who had been waiting for several months in a California hospital for a possible lung transplant has died.

Family members were by his side when 37-year-old Jason Mendenhall passed away peacefully Thursday night at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center, where he had been awaiting the availability of lungs for a transplant for more than 250 days. He had been in the ICU since July 6 and had been on life support since Aug. 21.

Mendenhall had suffered from cystic fibrosis all his life, and doctors decided since his lungs had been damaged, he would need a lung transplant. But because of his rare blood type, AB-positive, they were never able to find lungs that were compatible.

The News-Review featured Jason Mendenhall in an article on Oct. 26. His mother, Debbie Mendenhall, said the major problem that her son had to deal with was the bacteria in his lungs that causes infection to reoccur often, and the bacteria could not be killed. It had caused his lungs to deteriorate.

The family has been promoting the organ donor program so more people will sign up to make organs available in case of death.

“Even though it didn’t help Jason, if it means some people signed up to donate their organs, then we’ve made a difference,” Debbie Mendenhall said.

Services for Jason Mendenhall are pending.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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