Would You Take a Hepatitis-Infected Liver to Save your Life?
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On average 22 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant. How far would you go to avoid that fate? Meet one man who chose to accept a liver he knew was infected with hepatitis C – a chronic liver disease.
Ben received his first liver transplant as an infant. The liver began to fail 26 years later, and doctors told him he had less than a year to live unless he received another transplant – and the waiting list was long.
To save his life, Ben agreed to an experimental treatment – he received a liver infected with hepatitis C. After the surgery, doctors dosed him with a drug regimen to hopefully fight the infection.
“I feel like a brand-new person!” says Ben today. “I look at every day differently and I’m just really happy to be where I am now.” His health has improved dramatically – even his diabetes is under control.
Before the surgery, he was so ill that he could only work for a couple of hours before he had to sleep the rest of the day. He was willing to take the risk of infection for the chance to feel better.
ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork notes that in the last decade, for the first time we’ve developed drugs that can combat hepatitis C. “Whole new playing field!” adds Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon. “Look how well he’s doing!”
“We are so very happy,” concludes Dr. Stork. “Is it suboptimal to take a liver infected with hepatitis C? Yes. But it’s because we’re affected a severe organ shortage, not just in this country but around the world.” He urges viewers to register as organ donors – you don’t have to be a doctor to save a life.