Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. Congratulations to those who received their life-saving organ transplant in 2012  and to patients waiting for theirs our thoughts and prayers are with you in the hope you will receive your gift of life soon. A huge thank you to our donors and donor families for saving our lives.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Woman dies after being given a lung transplant from a smoker

Jennifer's Story

Jennifer was born on 12th June 1985 with Cystic Fibrosis. The symptoms of the disease meant she would have a life that would last no longer than her late teens.

As a child Jennifer was happy, bright and optimistic. She became an exceptional student and went on to complete a University degree, along with an MA. She always had an unfaltering fighting spirit and with the advent of improved medication, her life expectancy was extended. Jennifer Wederell, 27, died of cancer on August 24 at her home in Hawkwell, Essex, 16 months after being given a lung transplant at Harefield Hospital in London.

A woman born with cystic fibrosis who died after being given a lung transplant from a smoker.  Her father is now calling for hospitals to tell patients about a donor's health history.

Jennifer Wederell, 27, died of cancer on August 24 at her home in Hawkwell, Essex, 16 months after being given the transplant at Harefield Hospital in London.

She was not told at the time of the transplant that the middle-aged donor had been a smoker.

Now Jennifer's father, Colin Grannell, says people facing organ transplants should be told of any adverse history from the donor that might affect a successful transplant.

He says he does not think his daughter would have agreed to the transplant if she had known the full facts.

The hospital says it is sorry she was not given the choice.

Wederell, who was on oxygen for 24 hours a day by her mid-20s, had been on the waiting list for a lung transplant for 18 months when she was told there was a match in April 2011.

She received the transplant and married her long-term boyfriend, David, that same year.
But by February, less than a year after the operation, Wederell had been diagnosed with cancer, with the terrible news that it had spread.

"The shock immediately turned to anger in so far as all the risks were explained in the hour before her transplant and not once was the fact that a smoker's lungs would be used mentioned," Grannell told the Daily Mail.

"She was dying a death that was meant for someone else."

Grannell has set up a Facebook site, Jennifer's Choice, to encourage non-smokers to sign up to the organ donor register.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ontario, Canada improves transplant wait times

By Barbara Turnbull 
Life Reporter The Toronto Star

Amidst the controversial revelations in Wednesday’s report from Auditor General Jim McCarter, there was good news for those awaiting organ transplants.
Two years ago, McCarter slammed the province for “serious deficiencies,” highlighting seven key areas for improvement. But his update, included with this year’s report, is decidedly more positive.
His call for Ontario-wide wait lists for kidneys and livers has already been implemented for livers and will be in place for kidneys next year. Previously, livers were separated between London and Toronto; kidneys are still divided into five regional wait lists, so organs aren’t allocated to the highest-priority recipient across the province.
That has contributed to wildly differing wait times across the province — from four years for a kidney in areas such as London and Sudbury, where donor rates reach as high as 44 per cent, to nine years in the GTA, which has a donor rate of 14 per cent.
Amalgamating those lists into one will begin in June. As of then, every pair of kidneys from a deceased donor will be divided: one will remain local and one will go to the highest priority case provincially. And by the end of 2013, there will only be a provincial list, says Ronnie Gavsie, CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), the provincial agency mandated with organ and tissue donor system. “We expect wait times to go dramatically down (as a result),” she said.
The 2010 report also noted that only 21 hospitals capable of keeping patients on life support were required to alert TGLN of these potential donors. That number has now doubled from 21 to 45, with the rest of the 61 hospitals phasing in by March of 2014.
In addition, it’s now mandatory for all hospital departments to report potential donors, not just intensive care units and emergency departments, as it was previously. That’s expected to also increase donations of tissue like corneas, bones, skin and heart valves, another of McCarter’s concerns in 2010. Currently Ontario imports 80 per cent of its tissue.
Two other recommendations have already been implemented: the Be a Donor website was created, and ServiceOntario employees now ask people renewing their driver’s licence for their consent.
Gavsie gives McCarter credit for the push. “There is positive movement forward, in every recommendation,” she says.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ohio hospital that threw away viable kidney to resume kidney transplants

An Ohio hospital where an operating nurse accidentally disposed of a viable kidney will resume live kidney transplants in the next few weeks, officials said Tuesday.

Live kidney transplants at the University of Toledo Medical Center had been voluntarily halted after the Aug. 10 incident. After numerous reviews and some policy changes, the hospital's decision to restart the program was affirmed last week by the United Network of Organ Sharing, according to Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for health affairs at the university.

The hospital apologized and put two nurses and an administrator of surgical services on paid leave after a donated kidney apparently was put with medical waste instead of going to the intended recipient in what medical experts described as a rare accident.

The hospital had, the following week, resumed deceased donor transplants - where an organ is harvested from a dead person and given to a live person - but voluntarily suspended the live program, where a kidney from a live donor is donated to a live recipient, pending internal and external reviews of the program.

Gold said the reviews resulted in procedural changes that officials believe will keep the mistake from happening again.

"Today we complete the next step in a difficult journey, but one I think unquestionably made us a stronger, safer hospital," Gold said.

Gold said the hospital has stayed in close communication with those affected by the error and remains committed to their medical care.

The hospital, citing privacy laws, hasn't named the man who donated the kidney and the intended recipient, his sister, and won't say whether she received a different kidney.

A report by a surgeon hired by the hospital to review its transplant program called it "baffling" that the nurse would accidentally put the viable kidney with medical waste, but found no problems with the systems or the culture at the hospital that would have indicated it was at risk for such a mistake.

Another report conducted by the state for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said poor oversight and communication, and insufficient policies were factors in the kidney's disposal.

UTMC has performed about 1,700 kidney transplants in the past 40 years, with a 98 percent success rate.

Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ. More than 5,700 kidney transplants involving living donors and 11,000 with deceased donors were performed last year in the U.S. UTMC performed 16 of those living-donor kidney transplants and 37 deceased-donor transplants in 2011.

"This is very much a signature program of our university," Gold said.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs said teaching hospitals such as UTMC "have an obligation to share what happened with the medical community so we can all learn and improve."

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Liver recipient sent home with surgical mat inside him

Transplant patient sent home from hospital with A4-sized surgical mat still inside him 

  • Michael O'Sullivan, 49, had a CT scan three weeks after his liver transplant after he complained of pain

  • A second operation revealed that a silicone mat had been left inside him during the earlier operation

  • It was a 'never event' - a hospital incident that should never happen
  • Lawyer who won him £7,000 compensation said it had been 'basic carelessness'

A fish-shaped lapromat, like the one pictured, was left inside Mr O'Sullivan
A fish-shaped lapromat, like the one pictured, was left inside Mr O'Sullivan

A liver transplant patient was sewn up with an A4-sized piece of surgical equipment left inside him, after a series of medical blunders.

Michael O'Sullivan, 49, received a new liver at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, but was sent home with a silicone mat still inside him.

It was only discovered after Mr O'Sullivan complained of suffering from a lot of pain following surgery. Doctors performed a CT scan three weeks later and decided to operate after spotting something unusual. Mr O'Sullivan was shocked to be told they had discovered the equipment inside him following the operation.

He has now won £7,000 in compensation from the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The award comes after Addenbrooke’s was heavily criticized by health watchdog Monitor, which cited a series of so-called ‘never events’ - incidents that simply shouldn't happen - as one of its major failings.

Personal injury lawyers Slater and Gordon said the ordeal had been 'incredibly stressful' for their London-based client and could have put his health at risk.

Paul Sankey, Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon, told Mail Online: 'The hospital's own investigation says that the cause of the incident was the failure correctly to record that an item from the instrument set was in use, not recognising that it had not been removed and failure correctly to complete the count at the end of the procedure. 

'The normal rule is - count in, count out. The root cause was said to be the breakdown of routine checking procedures. In other words this was not, like most surgical mistakes, an error of judgment in the exercise of a difficult skill but really basic carelessness.

'I deal with medical negligence claims day in day out. In my experience mistakes quite as blatant as this are extremely rare.'

Rebecca Brown, from the same firm, added: 'When we go to hospital for surgery, we rightly expect the highest standards of healthcare and professionalism. These standards were not upheld when Michael had his liver transplant at Addenbrooke’s.
The award of compensation is a relief for someone whose health could have been endangered by this carelessness.

'We hope that the resolution of this case, as well of those of others who have brought actions against Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will serve to protect patients in the future.'

A spokesman for Addenbrooke’s said: 'We deeply regret this incident and have apologized to the patient.

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Older Age limits viable in lung transplantation

Doctors told Peter Nicosia, 81, who was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, he was too old for lung replacement. That was in 2009 at the age of 78.
Tampa-area lung transplant patients, past and future, celebrate life

T1203 LUNG JR 001
Christina Mabe, lead nurse in the T.G.H. Lung Transplant Unit, gives a hug to transplant recipient Derek Goody and his wife Rose Marie as Mabe sells raffle tickets at the annual One Breath at a Time Lung Transplant Support Group holiday party. The event helps to raise money for the Butterfly House, a place where patients and their families can stay while undergoing the months long procedure.

Doctors told Peter Nicosia, who was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, he was too old for lung replacement.
That was in 2009.
Sunday, the 81-year-old joined fellow lung-transplant survivors and others waiting for transplants in The Regent ballroom for the ninth One Breath at a Time Holiday Party, which drew about 250 people.
"Something like this is very encouraging, very strengthening," said Nicosia, of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Tampa. "You also feel that you're not by yourself. You realize that you're not on an island independent of others.
"You exchange ideas, learn from others, what they do during their time of suffering. The suffering is not only physical, it's psychological and emotional."
This was Nicosia's fourth party.
Sunday night was one of several fundraisers the nonprofit One Breath at a Time organization hosts throughout the year. The goal is to fund its Butterfly House, a two-story home just off the Hillsborough River in Tampa, renovated to serve three patients and some family members before, during and after transplants. The house allows people to stay within a seven-minute drive to Tampa General Hospital during treatment, rent-free.
Mark Rolfe and his medical staff deep-fried six turkeys, while guests provided the side dishes. Later, items ranging from wine to an iPod speaker system were auctioned off.
"It's great to see the people," Rolfe said. "We see them when they're sick. [At the party], we see them with their families and dressed up. They're not patients. They're more friends. It's nice because they get to interact with each other."
Robyn Dekeyser, now 43, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis just 21 days after being born. She said it never hindered her everyday life, just fast-tracked things. She's an accomplished ballet performer and for 10 years was an administrative assistant at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.
On July 23, 2012, Dekeyser underwent a double lung transplant.
Now, she doesn't worry about breathing anymore.
"It's an involuntary thing that you do, but for [cystic fibrosis] patients waiting for a double lung transplant, it's not so voluntary," said Dekeyser, who was attending her first party. "Every breath is labored and very executed. To not have to worry about that is amazing."
The annual party allows the doctors and patients to move beyond numbers, said Tarik Haddad, a doctor who began working with Rolfe four years ago.
"A lot of times, that personal touch in medicine is lost," Haddad said. "You're just a patient, a number. This brings it to now you're a family. Patients can share stories of been there and done that."
When potential transplant patients see those who have already experienced the process and are on their way to a new sense of normalcy, it makes the journey easier, Haddad said.
"It's a rewarding experience for the fact that we can take our patients who have been through the process of a transplant and get them to meet patients who are just starting that process," Haddad said. "A lot of times the patients are facing the daunting thought of transplant and breathing with someone else's lungs; it's a huge surgical procedure, and it's a scary task."

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Breathing Lung" transplant performed at UCLA Medical Center

First U.S. breathing lung transplant performed in Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

First there was the "heart in a box," a revolutionary experimental technology that allows donor hearts to be delivered to transplant recipients warm and beating rather than frozen in an ice cooler.  

Now that same technology is being used to deliver "breathing lungs." 

The lung transplant team at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical successfully performed the nation's first "breathing lung" transplant in mid-November. The patient, a 57-year-old who suffered from pulmonary fibrosis -- a disease in which the air sacs of the lungs are gradually replaced by scar tissue -- received two new lungs and is recuperating from the seven-hour surgery.  

The groundbreaking transplant involved an experimental organ-preservation device known as the Organ Care System (OCS), which keeps donor lungs functioning and "breathing" in a near-physiologic state outside the body during transport. The current standard involves transporting donor lungs in a non-functioning, non-breathing state inside an icebox.  

With the OCS, the lungs are removed from a donor's body and are placed in a high-tech OCS box, where they are immediately revived to a warm, breathing state and perfused with oxygen and a special solution supplemented with packed red-blood cells. The device also features monitors that display how the lungs are functioning during transport. 

"Organs were never meant to be frozen on ice," said Dr. Abbas Ardehali, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the heart and lung transplantation program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. "Lungs are very sensitive and can easily be damaged during the donation process. The cold storage method does not allow for reconditioning of the lungs before transplantation, but this promising 'breathing lung' technology enables us to potentially improve the function of the donor lungs before they are placed in the recipient."  

UCLA is currently leading the U.S. arm of the international, multicenter phase 2 clinical INSPIRE study of the OCS, developed by medical device company TransMedics; Ardehali is the principal investigator for UCLA. The purpose of the trial is to compare donor lungs transported using the OCS technology with the standard icebox method. The INSPIRE trial is also underway at lung transplant centers in Europe, Australia and Canada and will enroll a total of 264 randomized patients. 

According to Ardehali, in addition to potentially improving donor-lung function, the technology could help transplant teams better assess donor lungs, since the organs can be tested in the device, over a longer period of time.

In addition, it could help expand the donor pool by allowing donor lungs to be safely transported across longer distances.

"For patients with end-stage lung disease, lung transplantation can dramatically improve the patient's symptoms and offer relief from severe shortness of breath," said Dr. David Ross, professor of medicine and medical director of UCLA's lung and heart-lung transplantation program and UCLA's pulmonary arterial hypertension and thromboendarterectomy program. "The 'breathing lung' technology could potentially make the transplantation process even better and improve the outcomes for patients suffering from lung disease."

The "breathing lung" device follows on the heels of TransMedics' "heart in a box" technology, which delivers donor hearts in a similar manner. The multi-center national study of the heart technology, also led by UCLA, is ongoing.

SOURCE University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Forty per cent of lung transplants come from smokers - UK report

Enough to make you gasp: Forty per cent of lung transplants come from smokers

Donor organs are in such shortage patients must accept smokers' lungs or risk dying if they can't find another match

Smokescreen: EastEnders Dot Branning
By Nigel Nelson
Four in 10 lungs used in transplants come from donors who smoked, the Sunday People can reveal.
But the organ shortage means patients have to accept them - or risk dying if no others become available.
It raises fears patients could end up with lungs from chain-smokers like EastEnders favourite Dot Branning, played by June Brown, 85 - who continue to puff away despite danger warnings on cigarette packs.
Soldier Corporal Matthew Millington, 31, died less than a year after being given the cancerous lungs of a donor who smoked up to 50 roll-ups a day.
Cpl Millington, of the Queen's Royal Lancers, had the double transplant at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, in April 2007. Months later doctors found a tumour and he died in February 2008.
Cystic fibrosis sufferer Lyndsey Scott, 28, from Wigan, had a double transplant at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, in January 2009 and died from pneumonia a month later. Her family said they were not told that the organs were from a smoker of 30 years.
Health minister Earl Howe, who revealed 39 per cent of transplant lungs were from smokers, insisted patients were still better off accepting them. But he told the House of Lords:  "The transplant team should explain the risks."

Donor Card - Do More
Shortage: Donor organs in short supply
Since April, 1,859 people had a transplant. But there are still 7,603 on the waiting list and only 759 new donations in that time.
Specialist nurses take a smoking history from donors' families and the transplant team then decide whether the lung is suitable.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokeswoman said: "Transplant candidates are offered the opportunity to decline them. But choosing to wait may mean a greater risk of dying before alternative lungs become available."
SMOKERS are less than half as likely to get a date, with "ashtray breath" cited as the biggest turnoff in a poll.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, call 0300 123 0000, text ORGAN to 64118.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend we are reminded that we have much to be thankful for, especially those of us who have been given a second chance at life by an organ transplant. We thank our donors, our donor families, our families and friends for their love, care and support and our health care providers who brought us through those difficult times in our lives.

A huge thanks to the men and women of our armed forces for keeping us out of harm's way

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Middle East Transplant Games December 14-15, 2012

International Organ Transplantation Experts To Gather In Abu Dhabi, Capital Of The UAE For The 13Th Congress Of The Middle East Society For Organ Transplantation (MESOT) (20 November 2012)

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

Abu Dhabi will host the 13th Congress of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation (MESOT) from the 12th to 15th of December 2012 at the Jumeirah Etihad Towers. This is the first time in the history of the congress that the medical symposium and Transplant Games will be held in the United Arab Emirates. This high profile event is expected to attract hundreds of experts in the field of Organ Transplantation from the region and the rest of the world and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. 

The 13th MESOT Congress will feature a three-day scientific medical congress and two days of the Middle East Transplant Games. Organ donors and recipients will take part in the games with both men and women competing for Transplant Game medals. 

HE Saif Bader Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. (SEHA) says: ‘SEHA is delighted to be the lead supporting organization for the congress. This leadership role highlights SEHA’s commitment to providing advanced quality health care to residents of the UAE. “SEHA is committed to delivering the highest standard of health services, protecting the population and providing advanced care and treatment, as well as educating the public on healthy living”. We continue to build links with regional health institutions and institutes that use globally recognized superior applications for healthcare delivery as per the directives of HH President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.’

MESOT will kick off with an opening ceremony on the night of the 12th December and will be followed by three days of an intensive and exciting scientific program showcasing the latest knowledge and technical know-how on a large number of topics including Transplantation in MESOT Countries. Experts will share their knowledge on the challenges they are currently facing and will in the future. Some topics of discussion include initiatives to prevent organ failure, methods to improve organ transplant outcomes and success, the creation of systems of organ allocation and procurement, and the latest advancement in the transplantation of different organs such as kidney, liver, heart, lung, intestines and bone marrow. The congress will also feature sessions on stem cell research and its application in the treatment of organ failure, such as failure of the pancreas leading to diabetes. Additionally, pre-congress courses and workshops will provide hands on experience and improve the knowledge and skills of attendees in essential areas of transplantation, including Transplant Histopathology and Histocompatibility, Transplant Immunology and the preparation of patients for transplantation.

Mr. Carl Stanifer, CEO of SEHA, reinforced SEHA’s commitment to the medical congress as an opportunity for the clinical community to take advantage of the experience and skills that will help in the improvement and development of health services provided by SEHA for members of our society. 

HE Noura Al Suwaidi, Director General Women’s Union spoke on the issue: “Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the Emirates, is giving this conference her utmost attention and has kindly sponsored and embraced the principles and objectives it emphasizes. Treatment of organ failure by safe and ethical transplant has a high rate for successful outcomes. Recipients and donors can have a full recovery through rehabilitation and become active contributors in their communities. Families also have an opportunity to experience restoration of hope, as organ failure does not only affect the patient, but those who share in the personal struggles and triumphs of the journey to improved health.” 

One of the key supporters of the event is H.E. Lt (r) General Mohammed Hilal Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Armed Forces Officer’s Club. The Armed Forces Officers Club will provide full support to the symposium and host the sporting event at the Officers’ Club in Abu Dhabi. He comments, “This event supports the importance of sports and fitness in daily life and its role in the prevention of hospitalization and subsequent treatment of disease. A healthy lifestyle is the vision and mission of every sports institution.”

H.E. Mohamed Fadel Al Hamli, Secretary General of the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO) welcomed the news of the conference. “ZHO supports the theme of the congress and its principle message, which centers on finding optimal treatment for patients with organ failure, along with rehabilitation that enables recipients and donors to reintegrate into their communities with an opportunity to lead a completely normal life”.

Dr. Ali Abdulkareem Al Obaidli, Consultant Transplant Nephrologist, Chair of the National Organ Transplant Committee, Group Chief Clinical Affairs Officer at SEHA, as well as President of the Conference, announced that the conference will offer the opportunity to exchange experiences among participants and encourage the building of integrated medical services in the field of organ transplants between countries in the region, as is the case in Europe and North America. “This conference will provide an unparalleled opportunity for the exchange of information on scientific discoveries, present and future, and provide grounds for concerted efforts to develop ways to prevent organ failure and improve the results of organ donors and recipients alike. In addition, this conference is an opportunity for participants from countries around the region to be exposed to the UAE’s achievements and outstanding efforts in the field of health care”. 

Dr. Mohammad Hassan, Consultant Nephrologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, is also the Chairman of the Sports Committee of the Middle East Transplant Games. He is overseeing the 4th session of the Middle East Transplant Games (METG), which will be held in parallel with the conference. Participants in these games are both organ recipients and donors. They will compete in four different sports - running, swimming, table tennis and bowling. The Games will be held on 14th and 15th December and will be open to the public. For the first time in the history of these games in the Middle East, women have been invited to participate in the competition. The goal of the METG is to celebrate the physical fitness of those patients who have undergone organ transplants and their ability to participate and compete in these sports. It is hoped that the example of these people living healthy active lives will encourage the culture of donation and thereby increase donation rates, as well as promoting the full rehabilitation of the patients. These games are designed to prepare the participants to compete in the World Federation of Transplant Patients Games, which adopts the same principles.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Woman seeks financial help for surrogate pregnancy post lung transplant


Double-lung transplant recipient Sara Murray with daughter Sadie. Sara underwent a double-lung transplant in 2003 and became a mother to Sadie through a surrogate in April, 2009. She now seeks a second surrogate pregnancy and show that it is possible for a lung transplant recipient to have a normal family life.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sara Murray at the time of her transplant and was very impressed with the effort and dedication she gave to promoting organ and tissue donation awareness and fund raising for the hospital that performed her surgery. Friends of Sara's have asked me to promote her cause and I'm glad to help. Although I've been fundraising for transplant programs for years this cause is a first for me.

Read Sara's Story to learn more of her courageous life.

Sara Murray received a double lung transplant 9 years ago and became a mother of a little girl, Sadie, through the generosity of her sister who agreed to be a surrogate for the pregnancy. It is very risky for a lung transplant recipient to become pregnant and involves issues such as survival rates, rejection, complications of anti-rejection drugs, etc.

Now Sara wants to have a second child and show that it is possible for a lung transplant recipient to have a normal family. After years of searching Sara has found a surrogate but with surrogacy comes a large financial requirement. The parents are responsible for the fertility and medical costs of the surrogate, as well as the legal costs to make the child officially theirs. Please donate and bring a sibling home for Sadie!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cornea transplants cure corneal blindness

Previously blind photographers share their world in new art exhibit

By Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank
Published: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 - 10:52 am
/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pictures taken by once-blind cornea transplant recipients make up a new art exhibit that's scheduled to open November 16, 2012 in Denver. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank asked cornea transplant recipients to participate in its Circle of Light Photo Project by taking and submitting pictures of what they're grateful to see with restored vision. Many of the photos collected will be exhibited at Artwork Network, located at 878 Santa Fe Drive. They will remain on display through November 21. A free reception will be held on November 16 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Additional information is available at
This is the third annual Circle of Light Photo Project exhibit, which aims to show the impact eye, organ and tissue donation can have on our communities. The exhibit will also feature collaboration with the local community-based organization Art from Ashes. The organization seeks to empower at-risk youth through poetry therapy. Participants in the Rising Phoenix program at Art from Ashes created poems during an exercise that gave them the opportunity to experience simulated blindness. The poems inspired by the exercise will be on display alongside the exhibit's photographs. To learn more about Art from Ashes, visit
Cornea transplants are a cure for corneal blindness, which accounts for about 10 percent of all blindness. Each year, approximately 600 people in Colorado and Wyoming receive sight-restorative transplants. The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank facilitates the donation and transplantation of more than 1,500 corneas each year from donors in Colorado and Wyoming. Since 1982, RMLEB has facilitated more than 40,000 transplants.
Contrary to popular belief, eye donors do not need good eyesight. Even donors who were legally blind are able to help someone else through donation and transplantation of their eye tissue.  Colorado and Wyoming residents can register to be eye, organ and tissue donors at the time of driver's license renewal or online at Registration forms will be available at the exhibit.
Cornea transplant recipients know better than anyone the impact eye, organ and tissue donation can have on the lives of others. Through this project, the recipients had a chance to give back, honor their donor and show the world just how big that impact is.
The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank serves eye donors and their families and provides for sight-saving transplantation locally, nationally and worldwide. It is the recovery agency for donated eye tissue in Colorado and Wyoming.
SOURCE Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Organ recipient "always had faith"

Organ recipient "always had faith". Double-lung transplant recipient Deanna Peacock is urging residents to their sign organ-donor cards. Peacock underwent a double-lung transplant in July after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis four years ago. Frank Matys
By Frank Matys 
ORILLIA, Ontario - 

To say that Deanna Peacock is breathing easier these days would be a massive understatement.

Diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis four years ago, the local woman underwent a double-lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital in late July.

No longer dependant on oxygen tanks for her survival, Peacock, 54, is enjoying a new lease on life.

“I always had faith that it would happen,” 

Peacock, a mother of three grown children, said of the surgery. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time I had faith. But you do get down sometimes.”

This critical operation would not, of course, been possible without an available organ. 

To that end, Peacock plans to advocate in whatever way she can for organ donation.

“One donor can save eight people’s lives,” she said during an interview at her Orillia home. “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here.” 
n the two years leading up to her operation, Peacock required oxygen fed from tanks to make up for her ever-diminishing lung capacity.

She was placed on the lung transplant list at Toronto General Hospital in September 2011, the beginning of a months-long journey that would see her anxiously awaiting the call, a beeper and cell phone at her side.
“Waiting is horrible,” she says. 

Helping her through the lengthy and challenging process was a faithful group of community supporters, among them Margot Crowder Davidson and Cam Davidson, and the congregation at St. Paul’s United Church.
“They were phenomenal,” she adds. 

By July of the following year, her lungs were increasingly failing, functioning at between 12 and 18 per cent capacity.

At one point, Peacock would be rushed by car to Toronto after learning a set of lungs had become available, only to discover soon after that the organ was not viable.

Then, on July 21, she received a second call.
“We have a set of lungs,” Peacock was told.

Again she was driven to hospital and, after a seven-hour wait and a battery of tests the news came that “the lungs were good.”

The surgery was completed early the following morning. 
For a recipient of a lung transplant, Peacock’s recovery has been remarkably speedy and complications were minimal.
“I am blessed,” she adds. 

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Pulmonary fibrosis remains largely under the radar

This article has special meaning for me because I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 13 years ago and told I had about 2 years left to live and to get my affairs in order. After the initial blow of hearing this news I was very fortunate to get on a waiting list for a transplant and thanks to a generous donor and donor family I received a lung transplant 10 years ago. Treatment of IPF hasn't changed since that time.

MONTREAL - Retired Montreal police officer Jean-Yves Trudeau has already lost his sister to the disease that now threatens his own life.

Trudeau has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis — a progressive and ultimately fatal lung disease with no known cause or cure.

“Will it be my turn next? I’m not going to cry in a corner over my lot. My philosophy is: ‘One day at a time,’ ” said Trudeau, 69. He speaks in measured tones to conserve his breath. Common daily tasks such as climbing a few steps or even walking to the mailbox make him stop to catch his breath.

Despite ambassadors such as Ottawa resident Hélène Campbell, a high-profile double-transplant recipient, the disease continues to fly largely under the radar. Campbell, 21, received a transplant in April after gaining huge public attention through a social-media campaign that picked up celebrity followers such as Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres.

Trudeau consulted a lung specialist because his family doctor in Saint-Hyacinthe didn’t like the sound of his chronic coughing, recurring pneumonia and shortness of breath. His diagnosis, in the summer of 2010, came after months of testing that included lung imaging and a biopsy.

“It was like a blow the head,” Trudeau recalled this week at the lung testing lab at Notre-Dame Hospital of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, a tertiary referral centre. “My little sister (Carmen) was diagnosed the same week, but in a different hospital. In the end, she was on oxygen 24 hours a day” and she died in July, less than two years after diagnosis.

The condition affects adults mostly age 50 years older. It is a degenerative disease in which lung tissue becomes thick and scarred over time. The excessive scarring is called fibrosis and it worsens until most patients struggle to breathe; many need extra oxygen or lung transplants, and many die prematurely from the disease.

Some 30,000 Canadians suffer from some kind of pulmonary fibrosis, a family of diseases associated with about 140 known causes. Many of them are environmental hazards — for example, those who work in mines or with asbestos.

But the sub-group called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is what Trudeau suffers from, is considered the worst, said pulmonary specialist Hélène Manganas of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.
Studies suggest that 5,000 to 9,000 Canadians suffer from IPF, with an estimated 3,000 deaths each year.
It is a horrible disease whose causes continue to stump researchers, Manganas said.

“IPF is extremely limiting with lower life expectancy than many forms of cancer,” Manganas added. “It’s an aggressive illness. The median survival rate is three to five years from diagnosis.”

According to statistics, the disease seems to be increasing independently of the aging of the population, she said.

Many sufferers are provided with home oxygen but, eventually, they need lung transplants to survive, she said.

“Unfortunately, not every patient is a good candidate for a lung transplant. Some are too old or have other medical problems,” she said, and then there are wait-lists. “Sometimes the condition progresses so quickly that we don’t have time to do a transplant.”

Current treatment is limited to teaching patients to breathe more efficiently, she said, but the field is exploding with researchers looking for new therapies to slow the disease and reduce inflammation. In the meantime, more education is needed, especially of community health workers who accompany such patients at home, she added.