Comedian Robert Klein’s stand-up routines are so clever that he charms audiences of all ages during his popular HBO specials and frequent stints on the late-night talk show circuit. But Klein’s scheduled visit to his doctor’s office for a routine physical eight years ago turned out to be anything but ‘routine’ or funny. When Klein’s doctor, a pulmonary specialist, heard his patient’s nagging cough, he suggested that Klein take a spirometry test to evaluate the functioning of his lungs. The test confirmed the diagnosis his doctor had presumed: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Once a heavy smoker, Klein stopped smoking more than six years before his diagnosis. But it was too late; the damage to his lungs was already irreversible. Although Klein’s symptoms are relatively mild, he knows he will have this chronic disease for the rest of his life. To benefit others, Klein has decided to use his celebrity status to increase public awareness concerning COPD and its relationship to smoking.