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Stories of hope

Richard Schmidt: Grateful recipient

Richard Schmidt

I am a grateful living donor recipient. In early 2021, I experienced acute liver failure. I was hospitalized many times for ascites and hepatic encephalopathy. I sought out advice and was told my best chance was a living donor. Since I do not have children, my best hope was for my sister’s children to donate. This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I did not want to ask but it was my only option. Because I did not have a high MELD score, a living donor was my best chance. I never understood why I would not receive a liver because of a number but that is the system for allocation.

Fortunately, all three of my sister’s children volunteered. They underwent testing and my niece was the first choice. Both of us went through exhausting evaluations and tests. Finally a date for the OR was set. In August 2021, I received 64% of my niece’s liver. The care we received was exceptional and I’m happy to say both of us are doing great. My niece has learned that her liver has substantially regenerated and I am walking over three miles a day. I have a lot of medications to take to prevent rejection but the side effects are minor. Over time the medications will be reduced. I hope that our story inspires donors and gives hope to people needing a transplant.

What is MELD?

Learn more the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) and medical urgency.

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