Monday, November 21, 2016

Loyola Liver Transplant Patient Thanks Family of Chicago Policeman for His Second Chance at Life

MAYWOOD, IL – A Chicago policeman's fatal motorcycle accident became the gift of life for Loyola Medicine liver transplant patient George Carr. 

"Thanks to Jonathan Ho and the unimaginable generosity of his family, I now have a life," said Mr. Carr, 57, of Brookfield, Illinois. "I feel 20 years younger and, after two decades of struggling, like I am finally out of the dark clouds."

When Mr. Carr learned he was going to be a father 23 years ago, he also found out something else very surprising—he had hepatitis C.

"I applied for a life insurance policy to care for my wife and our growing family and had to complete certain medical tests as part of the process," Mr. Carr said. "I was shocked when the tests revealed I had Hep C."

Mr. Carr, a computer security specialist, has taken great care of his health and participated in many Hep C treatments, but none were successful until 2014. Under the care of Loyola Medicine's hepatology team, he began taking a new drug and found the cure he had sought for two decades.

"The good news was that I had finally beaten Hep C, but the bad news was that it came too late. My liver was severely damaged after years of the disease and a cancerous tumor was discovered," he said. "I needed a liver and Loyola put me on the wait list." He and his wife attended Loyola's transplant education program, held in conjunction with Gift of Hope, to learn more about the process. "Other patients who had received organs spoke to us during the program and that really gave us hope," he said.  

Three months later, he received a call that changed his life. Mr. Ho, a Chicago policeman and organ donor, died in a motorcycle accident and Mr. Carr would receive his liver. 

Ramesh Batra, MD, performed Mr. Carr's transplant surgery. "I had just joined Loyola that month and Mr. Carr was my first liver transplant patient," he said. "I am happy to play a small role in his success story. The credit goes to the selfless donation of the Ho family. They are the true heroes."

Mr. Carr said he noticed an improvement in his health immediately after waking up from surgery. "I remember being able to think clearly for the first time in a long time. Memories, emotions, everything was suddenly right there. It has been a rush ever since," he said.  

"I have been more than thrilled with Loyola," he said. "My physicians, nurses and entire medical staff are absolutely the ones you want when you have a serious, life threatening condition like I had.

Loyola Medicine offers the highest level of multidisciplinary, integrated care for liver disease and failure patients who may be considering a liver transplant. Loyola takes on the most challenging cases, some of which were turned away by other centers. As an academic medical center, Loyola doctors perform and teach the latest surgical techniques and medical practices.

In a meeting arranged this fall by Gift of Hope, Mr. Carr thanked the Ho family in person for their generosity in the face of such tragedy. He asked of them one simple request—to sign a plush liver given to him by his transplant team. 

"Now it truly documents everyone who helped in my healing," he said. "Without Jonathan Ho, I wouldn't be alive today. I cannot have a bad day in my life because, thanks to him, I am here." 

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH) on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, and Loyola Outpatient Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 247-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

About Trinity Health

Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 93 hospitals, as well as 122 continuing care programs that include PACE, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 131,000 colleagues, including 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.