Liver Transplant Patient Testimonial – Emory Liver Transplant



Simone Whitehead, a liver transplant patient at Emory http://www.emoryhealthcare.org, describes her experience of needing and getting a liver transplant from Emory’s Liver Transplant Program at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and how she was saved by the exclusive machine called MARS liver dialysis.

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Simone Whitehead: I thought I was much healthier than any given 30 year old… Ran a half marathon and then another 5k at the Peachtree Road Race. So I would run about 15 miles a week and be super active chasing around my 2 year old and chasing around my two dogs. I had a son and a husband who loves me and we were building our dream house and, so, my whole life- everything I ever wanted was given to me…

But in April 2016 things abruptly changed.

It was almost overnight. I started getting sick to my stomach. I thought I had the flu. The tipping point was I started turning yellow
and I called my husband and said: “We need to go to the hospital”

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Tests soon revealed that Simone’s liver was failing. She was transferred to Emory University Hospital.

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Simone: And, when I got into the room it was just as if all these lights just turned on and I had about 7 nurses in there and they just made every ounce of anxiety go away.

Emory has one of the top liver care and transplant centers in the country.

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Dr. Magliocca: It’s a team approach and we have very experienced and talented liver specialists and herpetologists who dedicate their lives to liver disease. As a matter of fact, the support from Emory is so strong, we have an ICU that’s dedicated to liver disease.

Simon needed every bit of that expertise. Her situation had become so critical, she needed help just to be able to have a liver transplant.

Fortunately, at Emory, she had access to a special treatment machine called MARS liver dialysis.

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Dr. Subramanian: MARS is a unique form of artificial liver support that can take over some of the functions of a failing liver and help the liver regenerate or, in the face of severe liver failure, act as a bridge to liver transplantation.

Emory is one of the few centers in the country that is offering MARS liver dialysis therapy and we are currently the heaviest users of MARS and, therefore, we have acquired the greatest experience in this liver dialysis technology.

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Simone Whitehead: The MARS machine saved my life because it provided the time that I needed to wait to get a liver.

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Simone got that liver on April 30th, and things immediately began to improve. Within 3 days, she was walking and one week after surgery she was able to see her son.

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Simone Whitehead: The daily goal that I had throughout the hospital was to recover enough that my son could come see me on Mother’s Day. We do have one picture of it and, to this day, when he sees that picture on my phone, he’ll say “Mommy’s all better.”

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Simone’s outcome is not unusual. Emory’s liver transplant program has saved the lives of many patients.

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Dr. Magliocca: Here at Emory Liver Transplant, we have particularly good outcomes. If we do 100 liver transplants, 96 patients out of hundred are still alive with a functioning organ a year after transplant and that’s actually significantly higher than most of the country.

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Simone: I can’t think of one word on how to describe what Emory means to me. I am so grateful and blessed by their treatment, and my family and I are forever grateful to them.

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