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Living Liver Donor Who Saved Life of Mother-in-law Represents Cedars-Sinai in Rose Parade

he feeling is mutual. “From the moment my daughter started going with him (Keith), I knew he was special,” says Dziubala. “He’s like my son. I adore him, just like the rest of my kids.” In fact, Sharon and Tom often vacationed with Susan and Keith and were very involved in their grandchildren’s lives – until Sharon became too sick to keep going.Eventually, visits had to be limited as Sharon spent more and more time having to stay in bed or lie down and rest.

Nicholas N. Nissen, M.D., assistant surgical director for liver transplantation at Cedars-Sinai’s Comprehensive Transplant Center, was one of the surgeons on the teams performing the Karzin-Dziubala transplant operations on Nov. 10, 2003.

“There is a donor organ shortage in the United States and in the world, and Sharon was not likely to get a donor offer through the standard system any time in the near future. But her life was difficult and she was having an increasing number of health problems, so Keith’s willingness to be a donor changed her life permanently,” says Nissen. “I think Keith’s story is a great one because not only did he change her life, but he changed his life. He changed his life by going through the act of donation but also because he’s able to have her be part of his life for years to come. This is something she would not have had and, in turn, it is something he would not have had if it were not for living donation.”

Because liver cells have the unique capacity to regenerate, a donor’s organ returns to its normal size within four to six weeks, with no limitation of function. Still, because any surgery involves an element of risk, potential donors are carefully screened and educated. At Cedars-Sinai, Karzin was interviewed by a psychologist, a social worker, surgeons and other transplant specialists.

“It was probably about a three-month ordeal before the decision was made that I was a viable candidate to do this. Early on, they try to discourage you in a
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