Liver Transplant Recipient
Without any warning, 46-year old Michael Moore began spitting up blood and had to be rushed to the emergency room in Tracy, Calif. in late April 2000. The doctors told Michael and his wife, Sharon, that his prognosis was bad and his condition couldn't be stabilized. They determined that Michael needed a liver transplant and while waiting for air transport to California Pacific Medical Center, he slipped into a coma.
Michael's condition was caused as a result of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, a virus with which he was diagnosed five years ago and contracted in 1970. After his diagnosis, Michael was put on medication to help with HCV, but then his local physician stopped the treatment and instead checked his liver enzymes from time to time to monitor for cirrhosis.
Once Michael arrived at California Pacific Medical Center, the doctors stabilized his condition and he came out of his coma. Because the HCV had destroyed his liver, Michael was put on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) liver waiting list as a Status 2B and then moved to a 2A, with a 1 listing being the most critical. He waited anxiously for a new liver, not able to return home because of his deteriorating condition.
"Most of my time waiting for the liver I can't remember," explains Michael, because he was suffering from encephalopathy, a side effect of liver disease in which toxins that normally circulate in the blood stream are not cleared properly by the liver, causing forgetfulness and confusion. "I told my wife I didn't think I'd make it during the wait because my condition was so bad."
On May 5, 2000, two weeks after he arrived at the emergency room, a donor liver came available for Michael. "I couldn't get to the hospital fast enough," explains Sharon, who was overjoyed that her husband was about to receive the gift of life. After about seven hours in surgery, Michael's new liver was functioning well. "I was scared going into that surgery, but once I came out, I had a really good feeling," Michael explains.
"This is a great group of doctors who work together wonderfully," Michael adds. "The liver team always took the time to explain everything and treated us as individuals, answering any questions we had."
"We both feel blessed that we were able to get to California Pacific and with the successful outcome of the liver transplant," say Michael and Sharon. "Our life changed overnight with Michael's illness, but the care we received and the surgery all happened in the best possible way for the worst possible scenario."