Living Liver Donation for Patients with Liver Cancer

On Valentine’s Day last year, I had the privilege of leading a 12-person team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, residents and nurses while a loving husband gave his wife part of his healthy liver to cure her from her liver cancer. 

Liver disease affects all walks of life and the husband, Bryan Li, was a perfect match to proceed with a lifesaving surgery for his wife, Francine Meng. Without the gift of living liver donation from her husband, Francine Meng would have spent 18 months to two years waiting for an organ.  She would have never gotten an offer and died from her cancer.  As a loving wife, sister and mother of a young child, that was a risk she did not want to take. 

Over the course of three meetings, the interdisciplinary team of social workers, independent donor advocate, and experienced transplant nurse practitioners spoke with the patient and husband about their options and they opted for living liver donation. 

Bryan Li gave his wife, Francine Meng, part of his liver- the best Valentine’s gift probably in history.  Today, both are alive and well and able to live their life with their young son.

NYU Langone has performed live liver transplants since the late 1990s and we have performed over 100 living related liver transplants.  Over eight hours in the operating room and a dozen specialists, including Associate Transplant Director, Dr. Glyn Morgan, and transplant surgeons Dr. Bruce Gelb and Dr. Aaron Winnick, are critical to the success of the surgery.

I am proud that at NYULMC Transplant.  We serve thousands of patients but our size is just right that we know each patient and their individual situation.  It is not ironic that we care for our patients in the Mary Lea Johnson Richards Organ Transplantation Center- a health facility donated by the late Martin Richards – a loving gift from husband to honor his wife, Mary Lea.  Bryan Li and Francine Meng are no different and I look forward to seeing them for years to come.

Valentines Day

Dr. Lewis Teperman: Testing for Hepatitis C Is Crucial to Avoid Fatal Liver Disease in Those Ages 45 to 64

Dr. Lewis Teperman is a renowned transplant surgeon in New York, and the author of the 2012 article “Living donation for the very ill patient with type 1 hepatorenal syndrome: Are we ready?” Among his professional circles, he is considered an authority on hepatitis C and liver transplantation.

According to federal health officials, two-thirds of individuals with hepatitis C are between the ages of 45 and 64. The testing for hepatitis C in individuals in this age bracket is crucial; due to the lack of knowledge of the disease during the 1960s and 1970s, many blood transfusions may have been contaminated. Any exchange of blood, including that which might occur in contact sports or in manicure/pedicure procedures, also carries the potential for the exchange of hepatitis C.

Treatments have considerably improved over the last few decades, indicating the possibility for a high quality of life for those diagnosed with hepatitis C. Liver transplant surgery is also an effective way to combat liver failure, so long as the disease is discovered in time.