Liver Transplant: Doug's Story

Doug (pictured back row, center) underwent a liver transplant at UW Hospital in 2010.


UW Health liver transplant patient Doug and familyMy illness started in October 2009, when I was told that I may have contracted H1N1. After several test at Upland Hills in Dodgeville, and because of my insurance coverage, I was sent to St. Mary's Hospital. I was admitted to the hospital, where Dr. Hamilton explained that something was attacking and destroying my liver. He suggested that I get a second opinion.


He sent me to the Mayo Clinic. We were there two days before Thanksgiving and within 10 minutes the doctor said that the only option I had was to get a liver transplant. He also said that they could start the process as soon as the next day.


My wife and I decided we wanted to go home and talk with our daughters. I had an appointment with Dr. Hamilton a week later and asked his advice. He said that the Mayo Clinic was a great place but felt that the UW Hospital was also great. We decided to go to the UW, which was the best thing we did.


As time went on, I experienced several complications, and in June 2010 I was admitted to St. Mary's for 10 days. I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hamilton on July 6 and he transferred me to UW Hospital, where I stayed until my transplant a few days later. Many times through this I wanted to just give up, but realized that I had a great family and that I wanted to keep fighting.


I had the best nurses before and after my transplant. My primary nurse, Bethaney, was the best. When I was told that my gift of a new liver was coming, it came with mixed feelings. I was scared and happy at the same time. Bethaney was there from the start to the finish and a great inspiration to me and my family.


I was moved to the prep area and met several wonderful people, including my transplant surgeon, Dr. Bellingham. What a bonus I received when I had Dr. Bellingham perform my transplant, along with Dr. Lee. When I went back upstairs I received such great care from all the doctors, nurses and CNAs.


I went home after eight days and I am now a few months post-transplant. I feel great and am walking up to six miles a day. If I can leave you with something, remember if you have faith, family and friends, along with the UW family, you can move mountains!


I want to take this time to thank Dr. Kramer for sending me to Dr. Hamilton for sending me to Dr. Musat at UW Hospital. I will always cherish the UW transplant team, and I thank each and every one of you. I also need to send a special thank you to my donor family. Without them I would not be here. Please consider organ donation.