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Living liver donors and recipients along with the transplant team gathered in the Center of Excellence at Methodist University Hospital to celebrate the one year anniversary of Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute’s living donor liver program.
Keith Pridgen donated 65 percent of his liver to his sister Amy Thomason who had autoimmune hepatitis.
“My sister’s meld score was not high enough for her to receive a deceased liver. She had symptoms for someone with a much higher score. I couldn’t stand seeing her get worse, so I donated part of my liver to her,” said Pridgen.
The living donor liver program at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute places the transplant program among the elite transplant programs in the country. There are only a handful of transplant centers across the country that offer a living donor liver program, and Methodist offers the only living donor liver program in Tennessee and the Mid-South.
“I am extremely proud that we offer a living donor liver program at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute,” said James Eason, M.D., program director for the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute. “The importance of this program is undeniable to those who need a new liver. It can truly mean the difference between life and death.”
Just like with kidneys, there is a shortage of livers for transplantation. A living liver transplant offers patients an option of getting the life-saving organ a patient needs sooner rather than having to be placed on the waiting list to receive a liver from a deceased donor.
The liver is a remarkable organ due to its unique ability to regenerate. The recipient’s entire liver is removed and replaced by a portion of the donor’s healthy liver. Overtime, both the donor’s liver and the recipient’s liver will grow to become fully-formed organs. Friends, family members, or in some cases, an anonymous donor can give a portion of their healthy liver.Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute continues to be one of the largest liver transplant programs in the country and a center of excellence for liver transplantation with excellent outcomes.