(Washington, DC) Fifty-two year-old Paul McNeel, a fire chief from Leonardtown, Maryland was 37 in 1996 when a sudden health problem caused the loss of his small intestine. Almost all of it had to be surgically removed to save his life. For 13 years after that, McNeel continued to fight fires and stayed alive only because he fed himself a special liquid formula through a tube that went from a port in his chest directly to his heart and into his bloodstream. Over time that feeding process called TPN or total parenteral nutrition took a toll on his body; it was damaging his liver and he began to suffer frequent and worsening infections. He began to run out of places to put new ports. McNeel eventually needed a life-saving transplant that 13 years earlier would not have been survivable. Thanks to research into improved surgical methods, better anti-rejection medications and a better understanding of how the small intestine works, Paul McNeel was able to have that transplant in May of 2009 at Georgetown University Hospital under the care of Thomas Fishbein, MD, executive director of the Georgetown Transplant Institute and a specialist in small bowel transplants. The Georgetown Transplant Institute is a collaborative program with scientific research and education programs run through Georgetown University Medical Center and the clinical arm operating at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington Hospital Center and Children's National Medical Center.
"I had never heard of a small intestine transplant when I started having all my health problems back in 1996," said Paul McNeel. "It was a hard life getting most of my nutrition from a tube and living with a constant upset stomach. I was really glad when I got my new intestine. It's allowed me to eat normally and become a whole person again."
Experts from all over the world who have helped thousands of people like Paul McNeel are coming together in Washington, DC, September 15-18, 2011 to share their l
|Contact: Marianne Worley|
Georgetown University Medical Center