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Two Prominent Nebraska Doctors Become Patients in Living Donor Liver Transplant
Date:4/15/2008

OMAHA, Neb., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- As the State of Nebraska's Chief Medical Officer, Joann Schaefer, M.D. knows a great deal about large-scale public health issues. The same goes for Gary Gorby, M.D., the Chief of Infectious Diseases at Creighton University Medical Center. Right now, both physicians are focusing on the big job of recovering as patients themselves.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080415/LATU118LOGO)

Dr. Schaefer, 40, said she has known for several years the need for a liver transplant may arise. In the last several months it did.

"In three months, I went from being extremely healthy to this," Dr. Schaefer said before the transplant. "Then eight weeks ago, I realized something was not quite right."

Her liver disorder caused cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. That condition created portal hypertension, a condition that caused serious complications for Dr. Schaefer including fatigue, bleeding and fluid retention.

"Her condition was most likely inherited," said Michael Sorrell, M.D., gastroenterologist and co-founder of the liver transplant program at The Nebraska Medical Center. "Dr. Schaefer's grandmother had died from liver disease in her 50s," Dr. Sorrell said.

"My doctor said it's time for a transplant, my quality of life was not going to get better," said Dr. Schaefer.

She did not have to look far for a donor, at least nine family members and friends volunteered. Dr. Schaefer jokingly called it her "lucky lobe search," referring to the left or right lobe of the donor's liver that would be transplanted into her body.

Neighbor, friend and fellow physician Dr. Gary Gorby was a match. "I've known for sometime she was going to need a transplant," said Dr. Gorby. "I knew our blood types matched. I also knew she wouldn't be high on the list for a cadaver donor. You don't get the opportunity
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SOURCE The Nebraska Medical Center
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