The Ed Henry story is helping promote living donation for liver transplantation. Ed Henry is a journalist for Fox News and he decided to donate about half of his liver to his sister. Why someone would do that you may ask?? First of all it is the ultimate show of love someone can give to his sister.
As a bonus, the liver is programmed to regenerate itself (grow back) to about its original size in Henry’s abdomen over the next 6-8 weeks. His donated half liver should also grow back to a normal size in his sister’s abdomen. This is the main difference with living kidney donor who will always live with only one kidney after donation.
There are more chance of complications after receiving half a liver for a living donor than receiving a full liver form a deceased donor but nothing guarantees the latter. This is simply because there are way more people on the wait list than organ available every year.
According to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR), the survival rate is pretty comparable between living or deceased donor liver transplant.
“400 people donate part of their liver every year on average in the US”
Since this story was in the news a lot, it might help promote for more live liver donation. I must confess that I would be less scare to give a full kidney than half of my liver. On an annual basis only about 400 brave people donate part of their liver in the US compared to 5,000 individuals who donate a kidney (OPTN).
The kidney numbers have been somewhat steady over the past 10-15 years but we can observe a slight trend up for liver donation. I can’t wait to look at the number in 1-2 years from now and see if this amazing story motivated more people to donate part of their liver.