Second chance at life; a transplant patient shares his story

David MyersIn April of 2008, I woke my wife at 2 a.m. by trying to rip the sink out of the wall because I could not turn off the water. I was taken to Mt. Carmel East Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. After four days in ICU and another three days in a step down unit it was determined that I had cirrhosis but the cause was unknown. Doctors determined I needed a liver transplant.

Blood work and more tests revealed I had Wilson’s Disease, which caused the damage to my liver. After being turned down as a candidate at several hospitals, my wife and my son, a physician, found Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute after a search on the Internet. After talking to Associates with the Institute, we were instructed to get to Memphis as quickly as possible.

I arrived at Methodist Hospital on a Tuesday night. Shortly after arriving, I had an arterial bleed and was rushed to Transplant ICU. The next morning, I had emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. Six days later, I was stable enough to be put on the transplant list. Within 24 hours on the list, on June 11, 2009, Dr. James Eason performed the surgery that saved my life. Immediately after the surgery, the new liver started doing its job. However, because of the side effects of the disease that destroyed my original liver, I remained in the hospital for seven months. I was discharged in December of 2009.

I am currently working part-time as a minister and counselor (after 40+ years of serving churches as a minister). But more importantly, at the time of my transplant I had three grandchildren. I now have 11 grandchildren with the 12th on the way. I am also excited to have my first great grandchild on the way. Without Methodist Transplant Institute, I would not have been around to meet all these wonderful additions to my family.

I also want to mention the incredibly unselfish act of the unknown donor who made my life-saving surgery possible. My personal plea to all who read this article is to be an organ donor. It is one of the greatest things anyone can do.

The care and compassion of Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute is second to none. The doctors were on top of all that was going on with my situation. The nurses, nutritionists and physical therapy staff on 10 Thomas and at Methodist Extended Care Hospital were incredible.

I salute the Transplant Institute on their 10 year anniversary at Methodist University Hospital. The hospital staff, along with UT Health Science Center, deserve heartfelt thanks for saving lives and giving many, many patients, like myself a chance to have a quality of life never expected.

Editor’s note: At Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, we respect our patients’ privacy and take the privacy of patient health information very seriously. MLH provides notices of legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect, maintain, and disclose. No patients’ health information will be used or shared without permission.