Ten years ago, Edward Rosenbaum had a near-death experience when doctors told him he had only about 48 hours to live. Today, Rosenbaum shares his story with others who soon may be in the same condition.
Rosenbaum, a liver transplant mentor at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital Transplant Center, will celebrate a milestone anniversary as a liver transplant recipient.
Now 66, Rosenbaum has been a liver transplant mentor for the Transplant Mentor Program for nine years. He also represents liver patients as a member of the mentor steering committee.
The mentor program matches candidates for liver, kidney, lung or heart transplants with patients who have already undergone transplants. Mentors walk patients through the transplant experience, answering questions, providing reassurance and serving as a tangible example of the success of organ transplants.
After being diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis, Rosenbaum suffered with few effects for years. Then, in his early 50s, his liver began to fail and his health deteriorated. He was referred to the liver disease program, where he was put on the waiting list for a donor organ.
“I was basically going to die in the hospital,” says Rosenbaum. “But thankfully, while I was in the hospital, my wife received a call that changed everything. Doctors said I only had about 48 hours to live, so the call regarding a liver was right on time.”
He received his transplant in April 2002.
Once he received a healthy liver, Rosenbaum made a quick recovery. He was released from the hospital about a week after the transplant and returned to work as a plant engineer for a plastics company a few months later.
Now Rosenbaum spends his time mentoring liver transplant patients in hopes of easing their fear or concerns.
“I felt I needed to give back to society and the hospital for all I was given,” says Rosenbaum. “I also involve my wife as a resource for the caretakers. Caretakers are as involved physically and emotionally as the person having the transplant.”
When Rosenbaum is not mentoring patients, he enjoys outdoor activities, such as bird hunting, training bird dogs and teaching hunter education.
“I’m enjoying life and I can pretty much do anything I want now,” he says. “I have no limitations for being 66 years old.”
For more, read this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from Harry Jackson.