The best of transplant 2011 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

December 21, 2011

In the season of giving, as our gift to you, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite transplant stories from the Washington University- Barnes-Jewish Hospital Transplant Center in 2011. Enjoy these two for starters:

First, the story of someone who gave the gift of life, and in doing so, got a gift of his own. From March, here’s the story of  Dave Mouser, a man whose decision to donate a kidney to his wife ended up saving his own life.

Now, someone who became a transplant pioneer at Barnes-Jewish after receiving a second chance at life because of the generosity of a donor family. In July, we told you the story of Tish Hatley, a Barnes-Jewish nurse who became the first person to have a combined heart-liver transplant at here.

Tomorrow: A man who’s tooting his horn about his liver transplant.

A mom tells why donation was the “right thing to do”

November 15, 2011

Our partners at Mid-America Transplant Services, the region’s organ procurement organization, have a video by  donor mom June Laschober in their newest online newletter.

She talks about her son, Scott Laschober, a “teddy bear” of  a young man, who died  just as his life was starting to come together. June tells how in the face of this tragedy, making the decision to donate her son’s organs and tissue was “the right thing to do.” 

For anyone wondering what it’s like to make the decision to donate, this video answers that question. For organ or tissue recipients who may feel survivor’s guilt about getting the chance to live because someone else died, this video should be comforting.

Click here to take a look.

Physician of the week: Dr. Jeffrey Lowell

September 27, 2011

Here’s a little test. Which of the following does not apply to Washington

Biker Dr. Jeff Lowell (right) with fellow transplant surgeons at the MS150

University transplant surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Lowell?

a. He’s a Navy reservist who recently completed a six-month tour in Germany, operating on soldiers evacuated from combat zones.

b. He’s a black belt in karate.

c. He was a member of the St. Louis City Police hostage negotiation team.

d. He was medical emergency preparedness advisor to then-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

d. He has a brother who’s not a doctor, but has played on TV (as a guest star on “Bones.”)

e. One time, he did something only halfway.

If you picked “e,” you’re correct.  Dr. Lowell never does things halfway.

That includes saving lives by transplanting livers and kidneys at both Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

We could keep listing his accomplishments – like director of the regional medical emergency response team, fencer, runner, husband and father, etc. – but space is limited.

So watch the video and hear about how he approaches his “day job.”

Dr. Crippin is physician of the week

September 19, 2011

Washington University physician Dr. Jeffrey Crippin is the medical director of liver transplant at Barnes-Jewish. He’s also a nationally known hepatologist, recognized for being a leader in the treatment of hepatitis C  and liver cancer in transplant patients and for helping to shape transplant policy in the U.S.  On top of that, his patients will tell you he’s just a great person.

He’s this week’s  featured physician on our Touching Base blog. Check it out.

The well-used heart and the hand-crank dialysis machine

September 15, 2011

A shout out to one of our favorite kidneys for leading us to a fascinating

1966 dialysis machine

website. Emily’s Kidney – a social media savvy organ who has guest-blogged for us – had an intriguing post on Twitter today.

@EmilysKidney  tweeted this photo, asking people to guess what it is. Turns out it’s the precursor to the modern dialysis machine. It’s on display at the London Science Museum, where one of the people who helps Emily’s Kidney with Twitter recently saw it.

So, take a look – don’t those look like cranks on the side? Did you have to have your nurse crank it? Did you have to crank it yourself?! Dialysis has indeed changed.

Anyway, I went to the Science Museum’s website to see if there were other transplant-related tidbits and sure enough – there’s an illustrated history of transplant!  Be warned, the first illustration is a photo of a very well-used heart donated to the museum by a patient who had a new heart donated to him.

I’m sure I’ll spend hours on this site (don’t worry, boss, after work), and I’ll learn lots. I’m looking forward to it

Thanks again, Emily’s Kidney. Here’s hoping you find your way to Emily very soon!

-Kathryn Holleman

Hep C quiz – how much do you know?

September 13, 2011

Dr. Jeffrey Crippin

Yesterday afternoon, we shot an interview with Washington University physician Dr. Jeff Crippin, the medical  director of liver transplant here at Barnes-Jewish. He talked to us about hepatitis C. We should have that video ready to show you in a few weeks.

In the meantime, we got some interesting facts from Dr. Crippin to will test your hep C knowledge:

1. Hepatitis C is the leading reason for liver transplant in the U.S.  True or False?

2. The hep C rate  is dramatically increasing in the U. S.  True or False?

3. Eating food handled by an infected person, sexual contact and using an unclean public bathroom are all common ways of contracting hep C.  True or False?

4.  Alcohol can make hep C worse. True or False?

5. You can be infected with hep C for decades without having symptoms. True or False.

6. Hep C is an incurable disease. True or False?


1. True.  Currently, liver failure due to damage caused by hep C is the leading reason for liver transplant in the U.S.

2. False. Since 1992, when a test was developed to screen for hep C antibodies in donated blood, hep C cases caused by tainted blood transfusions have been virtually eliminated. This has led to an overall decline in the rate of hep C in the U.S.

3. False. The hepatitis C virus is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. Intravenous drug use, tattoos using a contaminated needle, needle stick injuries to healthcare workers and transfusions before 1992 are common means of transmission for hep C.

4. True. Drinking alcohol can damage the liver and can cause hep C to progress faster.

5. True. Hep C can be present in a patient for 20 years or more before symptoms appear. For many patients, the first symptom is liver damage.

6. False. Hepatitis C can be treated with a combination of two drugs, interferon and ribavirin. Some patients may also get a drug called a protease inhibitor. In up to 80 percent of patients, these drug clear the virus from the system. For many of the patients who respond to these drugs, the virus never returns and the patients are considered cured.

How’d you do? If you missed any of the questions, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss Dr. Crippin’s video!

-Kathryn Holleman

Another look at the ALF Liver Life Walk

July 22, 2011



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