Halfway Around the World and in Need of a New Liver

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-35409" src="https://mdthinks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/halfway-around-the-world-and-in-need-of-a-new-liver.jpg" alt=" After a long stay at the hospital followed by a flight around the world with his survival in question, Tom Walsh came to the Mayo Clinic, where he received a rescue transplant. "width =" 805 "height =" 453 "/>

After a long hospital stay followed by a flight around the world with his survival in question, Tom Walsh came to the Mayo Clinic, where he received a life transplant.

When Tom Walsh went to teach English in Japan, he could not have imagined the odyssey that awaited him. A trip to the doctor because of an abdominal pain ended up landing the 25-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida, in an Osaka hospital for a month. His condition spread into liver failure which eventually necessitated a trip to the other end of the globe for a liver transplant . But getting there would not be easy.

Key to a happy ending at Tom's test was his father, John Walsh. Determined to bring Tom home, John traveled from Florida to Japan twice in two months. He was finally able to return to the United States with his son so that Tom could receive the medical care he needed to stay alive. Today, John credits Tom's care team to Mayo Clinic for his son's return to health.

"He was dying the first week of June, and thanks to Mayo doctors and staff, he's sitting here right now," says John.

Alarming Decline

Although he was not diagnosed until the age of 17, Tom was born with an abnormality known as alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAt) a genetic disorder that can cause lung or liver disease. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein produced in the liver that helps protect the lungs and other organs.

"Disability Is Not Very Common" Says Andrew Keaveny, MD, Medical Director of the Liver Transplant Program at Mayo Campus Clinic . And among the small group with the disability, he says, "liver disease only occurs in about 15 percent of patients with the proper genetic makeup."

Unfortunately, Tom did not benefit from these benefits.

"He was dying the first week of June, and thanks to the Mayo doctors and staff, he is sitting here right now." – John Walsh

When he went to the hospital in Japan, Tom quickly learned that he had a lot more to do than abdominal pain. His medical situation was serious. The doctors told Tom that his liver enzymes were high. This may indicate inflammation or damage to liver cells. In his case, they reported a serious liver problem, and the doctors warned him that he was at high risk of internal bleeding and potentially coma.

Tom's father flew to see him at the end of April 2017, hoping to bring him back to the United States for treatment. Japanese doctors warned that it was too dangerous for Tom to travel or even to be transferred to another medical facility. At this point, John returned to the United States

After several weeks without any improvement in Tom's condition, John requested a review of his scans and laboratory work from Tom's doctor in St. Augustine, Florida. The doctor informed John that even though it was risky for Tom to travel, if his son stayed in Japan, he was unlikely to survive.

Restored Health

In early May, John returned to Osaka – this time to bring his son home. To reduce the risk of medical complications during the long flight back to Florida, Tom took blood thinners to help prevent a pulmonary embolism . When they arrived in Jacksonville, a local liver specialist performed a liver biopsy as well as a paracentesis – a procedure to remove the accumulated fluid in Tom's body due to the condition. advanced liver disease.

Several days later, over the Memorial Day weekend, Tom jumped again because of an excess of fluid. He felt more and more pain and was taken to a different health center for another paracentesis. Acknowledging that Tom would need a liver transplant, the doctors referred him to the Mayo Clinic.

On May 31, Tom met the gastroenterologist Mayo Clinic Barry Rosser, M.D. As of June 8, he was on the National Waiting List for transplantation . A liver became available for Tom the next day. Graft surgeon Justin Burns, M.D. performed the surgery, and it was a success.

"World-renowned surgeon care technicians, the care provided to patients was incredible and, for me, the most important was that they were really kind and helpful to me and my family." – Tom Walsh

Today, several months after his transplant, Tom is doing well and says that he feels better physically than he has done for a long time. He is now eager to become a high school social studies teacher.

Reflecting on his experience, Tom says that he is especially grateful for the personal attention that he and his family have received from his care team at the Mayo Clinic.

"When I woke up from the operation and my eyes were already cleared of jaundice, I felt that everything was going to be fine," he says. "From world-renowned surgeon care technicians, the care provided to patients was incredible and, for me, the most important was that they were really kind and helpful to me and my family."

USEFUL LINKS

Tags: Dr. Andrew Keaveny Dr. Barry Rosser Dr. Justin Burns Liver Transplant Program Transplantation

Leave a Reply