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Share 35 and Liver Allocation: What is Share 35? February 27, 2014

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Mike's Big Adventure in Liver Transplant, to liver transplant and beyond.
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Mike was listed at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center on June 17, 2013, just one day before Share 35 was implemented. We realized our chances of getting the next liver at our hospital, might not be so good, and saw our hopes (being at the top of the list), go out the window.  On Aug 13, Mike  had fallen in the hallway and bumped his head, 2:30 in the morning, so at 9:30am, his sister and I talked him into going to the hospital, just to check and to make sure nothing was bleeding in his head or somewhere else in his body.
I packed him up and took him to UW Madison Hospital Transplant Unit as an ER run. I chose to take him there instead of St. Luke’s, because we already had an appointment that week for a multiple listing workup, and if I took him to St. Luke’s, he would surely miss that appointment, as he was always in for at least 4-5 days.
We called and told them we were coming, so they were expecting us. For the  next 4 days, they hit him with a barrage of tests, even though Aurora St, Luke’s had sent his file over for approval (it took them a couple days to do this). On the 4th day, we were preparing for discharge, when we were told a possible donor came our way. We stayed and waited another 18 hours, only to find out at 11pm, it was a no go, a fatty liver. UGHS!!! His sister and I decided to spend the night and then met with the team of Dr’s for an evaluation of Mike’s condition, as he had reached a MELD 36. They decided to keep him one more day, then we were sent home the following morning, on a Friday. We got home, and Mike’s Mom and Dad came over to see him; they stayed a couple hours and then left.

They had no sooner left when we got The Call at 4:15pm that same day, a donor was found. With the help of our neighbors, and a lot of coercing from the Nurse on the phone, telling Mike he really should come right away, not wait until the next morning, we got him in the car and headed back to UW Madison, a 1.5 hour drive. We arrived at 11:00pm and were quickly taken up to our room to get started with preps.

Our team of Dr’s got together and drove to Milwaukee to do a biopsy of a liver to see if it was viable. We waited all night, Mike tossing and turning restlessly.  By this time, we were on his 6th dry run. We did not know how many more of these we could do, without losing hope. At 6:30am, our RN came in to tell us the Dr’s were heading back and about 10 minutes from the hospital. O.M.G. the tension was palpable, the taste of fear in my mouth, we waited. and waited….They had already done all the preps, showers and enemas for upcoming surgery. At 7:00am, they came and wheeled us off to OR where we were to wait to find out the biopsy results. We still had no idea if the liver was going to happen. We waited in OR, spoke with the Anethsesiologist who came in to tell us his part of the procedure, while I signed all the necessary forms and paperwork. Then, at about 8:30am, Dr. D’Alessandro walked into our little room. My heart fell to the floor, he was not in scrubs……then the corner of his mouth turned up a little, and he asked us if we were ready to go to surgery!!! I am tearing up as I remember that moment…..

Mike got his liver 7.5 hours later. I was getting a cappuccino in the Family waiting area, when I turned to find his Surgeon standing behind me. I asked jokingly if he was taking a break, and he laughed and said no, he was done!  Dr. D’Alessandro said that was one of the quickest and easiest transplants he had done, in his 28 yrs!

 What is Share 35?

In Mike’s case, it saved his life.


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