Barb and her husband Tony Coyle:
Barb and her husband Tony Coyle: "she was my rock". Contributed

Nurse's life a reminder of why organ donation matters

THE family of a former Toowoomba nurse whose life was extended by years after a double-lung transplant has urged residents to discuss organ donations with their loved ones.

Barbara Coyle died suddenly on December 13, four years after she received new lungs from a man as a result of hers failing to a bacterial infection.

Toowoomba-based Sharon Jennings, whose brother Tony was married to Mrs Coyle, said her sister-in-law endured years of travelling between Rockhampton and Brisbane for doctor's visits and taking as many as 60 pills a day to fight her non-tuberculosis mycobacterium.

"In that period when she was first diagnosed (in 2011), they tried to get rid of the bacteria with antibiotics," she said.

"She was just very breathless and struggled with her breathing, to the point where she required a transplant.

"She went through so much and she never whined."

Mrs Coyle, who met Tony while she was working at Toowoomba Hospital, reclaimed her life after the transplant until about three months before her death, when her body started to reject the lungs.

"Barb was well up to three years after her transplant - she was able to return to work and it gave her more quality of life and more quantity.

"The lungs had started to fail and she developed a fungal infection in the lungs.

"We really don't know what happened, it just seemed to snowball."

Mrs Jennings said her sister-in-law's life was a reminder of the necessity for residents to discuss organ donation openly and honestly, saying it would save lives.

"It's not one of those topics that's discussed, but maybe it needs to be brought up," she said.

Australia's lung transplant waiting list was 77 at the end of 2016.