NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — A New Gloucester firefighter, who notably received a double lung transplant eight years ago, has died.
Safety Officer George Carman’s health had been steadily declining over the past year, according to New Gloucester Fire-Rescue Capt. Scott Doyle. A statement Tuesday said that Carman was diagnosed with cancer last November.
Safety Officer Carman passed away Tuesday, Sept. 10, as family members were transporting him to a hospice facility, Capt. Doyle said.
Carman was born with cystic fibrosis that slowly attacked his lungs and made it harder and harder to breathe. But that didn't stop him from serving the town of New Gloucester for 25 years as a firefighter and safety officer, and before that, the Yarmouth Fire-Rescue Department in the early 1990s.
He was just nominated as a lifetime member of New Gloucester Fire-Rescue.
In 2004, community members and fellow firefighters started New Lungs for George to help his family raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the huge out-of-pocket costs of a transplant. He spent five months on an organ transplant waiting list after waiting five years to get on it, undergoing surgery in 2011.
His fight for a new set of lungs inspired other cystic fibrosis patients.
According to the fire department, Carman was considered to be in remission for part of the summer. But in the past two weeks, he learned that his cancer had returned and that one kidney had failed. Any measure taken to treat the kidney would have caused his body to reject his new lungs, it said.
Carman and his family decided last week that he would focus on being comfortable and chose to forgo any more medical treatments, Doyle said.
"On behalf of George’s family, New Lungs For George committee, and the New Gloucester Fire & Rescue, we appreciate all you have done for this true American Hero," said Doyle, who's the chairman for New Lungs for George.
More information was anticipated to be released regarding funeral arrangements.
"On behalf of George’s family, New Lungs For George committee, and the New Gloucester Fire & Rescue, we appreciate all you have done for this true American Hero," is how Doyle ended the statement.