Living Liver Donation

In the United States, there are about
15,000 people waiting for livers. The thing that is always going to be the
roadblock is how many donors do we have and so anything we can do to increase
that would be a terrific boom to decreasing the number of people waiting.
Living donation is certainly one of those things. Well, a lot of times people
have the notion that they don’t want a family member to be a donor. (Jennifer Milton) Our biggest barrier to donation as people hate to ask for help. Very often what we see our patients say is no they don’t want anyone to do that
for them. So, our hardest thing about living donation is getting our
recipients, the ones who actually need the transplant, to spread. (Dr. Halff) The word the way the liver transplant list works is the sickest patients are at the top of
the list and have priority so the patients who are not as ill have to wait
until they’re much sicker before they have the option of transplant. So, a
living donor allows them to have the transplant before they’re extremely sick
which saves them frequently great deal of time in and out of the hospital. Our
goal with living donation is always to protect the donor. We’ll take no chances
with their health and recovery. If you have a donor and they might be relatives,
and might be friends, they might be church members, they would go through the same workup that somebody that will be a recipient will go through. (Dr. Halff) Typically for a living donor liver transplant, we take out, the right 60% of the liver. The liver
is very unique and that it’s able to regenerate and within the first month to
nine months. The right lobe in the recipient grows to the normal size of
the liver and the left lobe in the donor, increases in size back to its
original size. We have spent a lot of time trying to help educate our patients,
not just to the importance of finding a living donor, but how to go about finding
a living donor. Patients tell me all the time I don’t want to ask someone. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to have to ask someone for an organ either but I
think really what it goes to is not so much asking people to donate to you but
being very open and honest. Those people who are interested in being donors,
that’s all they need, is they need the opportunity hear about it. They’ll figure
out to come forward on their own. They don’t need to be directly asked. If you
also talk to donors, they are incredible individuals heroes to me. They literally
want to do everything they can to make life better for somebody else and
they’re completely unselfish about what they have to go through, and after you
asked them what was this worth it and they talk about
it was not only worth, it’s made me a better person. This is my dad Paul
Maldonado and I became a living liver donor for him. I just really appreciate
what you did. You’re my angel, saved my life. The living donors who I’ve come to
know and many many of whom I’ve operated on almost uniformly felt this was an
extremely positive experience for them. They feel very good that they helped
someone they cared about. I think it’s like a lot of altruistic giving in life
that applies to many things giving is very special and makes the giver feel
very good. This is my son Jeremy Garcia and I became a liver donor because of
him, the love of my life. You don’t have to go ask, people are asking you and instead of saying no, you just need to change your
answer and you need to say oh my gosh that overwhelms me so much. I’m just so
touched that you asked and here’s how you find out more information.

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