Peter M. Wilson, PhD, the founder of one of the most useful and influential COPD educational Web sites, has died. Dr. Wilson founded www.portableoxygen.org as a comprehensive resource for COPD patients throughout the country.
As an author and educator, Wilson touted his objectivity and made it known that he had no affiliation with any oxygen related business as he spread valuable info to patients. According to the biography section at portableoxygen.org, Wilson himself had emphysema since the early 1980s and battled long and hard to quit smoking.
"In late 1996, I was admitted to the hospital with a lung infection," wrote Wilson on his Web site. "Three months later, I was again admitted for the same reason. I can remember my family doctor and pulmonologist standing at the foot of my hospital bed after a particularly bad night, asking if I was ready to give up smoking. I was and I did."
Shortly after, doctors put Wilson on oxygen due to a dramatic drop in lung function. "The bottom line," Wilson wrote, "is that I have the use of 12% of my lungs."
Wilson relied on portable oxygen and a scooter to get around and frequently took trips to Miami, South Dakota, Orlando, and Cape Cod. The Web site was entirely written, managed, and paid for by Wilson. Colorado COPD Coalition manager Keith Breese praised Wilson’s personal attention to patients and the collective knowledge base available at portableoxygen.org.
"I believe in both prayer and self-determination," wrote Wilson. "I believe it is my responsibility to manage my health. But, to do so I need the best information. I have discovered what I need to know about oxygen and can now pass that information on to you."