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UMMC's first liver transplant in 22 years

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With a midnight call from an out of state hospital on March 4, doctors learned a donor liver was available. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders) With a midnight call from an out of state hospital on March 4, doctors learned a donor liver was available. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders)
After a long four year battle struggling to survive, the liver transplant recipient said she was indebted to the donor's family. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders) After a long four year battle struggling to survive, the liver transplant recipient said she was indebted to the donor's family. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders)
UMMC officials say the renewal of their liver transplant program means Mississippians will be able to stay closer to home for pre-operative visits, transplantation and follow-up care. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders) UMMC officials say the renewal of their liver transplant program means Mississippians will be able to stay closer to home for pre-operative visits, transplantation and follow-up care. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders)
"I feel like I won the lottery," said a teary eyed Battle as she encouraged others to sign up as organ donors. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders) "I feel like I won the lottery," said a teary eyed Battle as she encouraged others to sign up as organ donors. (Source: MSNewsNow Photog Karlos Sanders)
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

After the major breakthrough in the fight for finding a cure to HIV, another major medical development comes out of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The teaching hospital introduced their first liver-transplant recipient in 22 years.

Karen Battle was diagnosed with auto immune hepatitis in 2009. The chief of the transplant program, Dr. Chris Anderson said Thursday the 36-year-old was in treatment but was in a downward spiral in intensive care with kidney failure when an unexpected phone call came.

"Her transplant wasn't necessarily a run of the mill transplant. It had a lot of people on edge, including myself, but the program and the team we've put together all functioned just like we wanted to," states Dr. Anderson.

With a midnight call from an out of state hospital on March 4, doctors learned a donor liver was available. A special transplant team was pulled together and within hours the south Jackson mother was in surgery.

Battle's life was on the bubble but about to be turned around.

"Now I don't even take walking for granted. I'm ready to see what God has a new adventure for me because if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here."

Karen Battle smiled and laughed during the news conference Thursday. After a long four year battle struggling to survive, the liver transplant recipient said she was indebted to the donor's family.

"I feel like I won the lottery," said a teary eyed Battle as she encouraged others to sign up as organ donors. "If it wasn't for the donor and the donor's family giving up a precious gift, I wouldn't be here."

Until this transplant, nearly 60 patients yearly would go to out of state hospitals for liver transplants. A new day has dawned for the doctors at UMMC.

Dr. Brian Borg, a member of the highly specialized transplant team, said, "The purpose of this institution is to build up a solid transplant program for the state of Mississippi and to provide such a service that this state did not have for a long period of time."

UMMC officials say the renewal of their liver transplant program means Mississippians will be able to stay closer to home for pre-operative visits, transplantation and follow-up care. Since the program stopped in 1991, about 60 patients a year have needed to go outside Mississippi for liver transplantation.

If you would like to know more about organ donation contact the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency in Flowood by visiting www.msora.org or www.donatelifems.org.

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