• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: 2 confirmed dead in plane crash near Haines - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 42s

Live liver donation: A solution to organ shortage gains momentum

By Ivanhoe Newswire 3:49 PM May 16, 2016
SAN DIEGO, Calif. –

Last year, 359 liver transplants were made possible by live liver donation. It’s a number that has grown over the past three years, and experts say it may be evidence that more people are learning about what can be, for some, the only life-saving option.

Ashley Ray, 21, suffered from liver disease from the age of nine until she was 19, when her liver failed.

“I deteriorated very fast, and Dr. Hemming said I wouldn’t have made it waiting on the transplant list,” Ray recalled.

Ray’s uncle, Keith Garcia, found out he was a blood type match and he volunteered to donate half his liver.

“I felt confident that I would survive what the surgery entailed,” Garcia said.

Alan Hemming, M.D., chief of transplantation at University of California San Diego Health, said live liver donation allows patients to get transplants before they get too sick.

“It doesn’t take away the risk of transplantation, it just takes away the risk of dying on the waiting list,” Hemming explained.

In an eight-hour surgery, Hemming and his team removed 60 percent of Garcia’s liver and transplanted it into Ray. Both halves of Garcia’s liver will grow back to nearly full-size.

“It was just a once in a lifetime experience to see my uncle standing on the other side with half of his liver inside me, keeping me alive,” Ray said.

Donors risk complications or death, but Garcia recovered quickly, returning to work in two weeks.

“Having her that close to death, it was traumatic,” Garcia said. “So now that it’s all behind us, I’m not dwelling on it too much.”

Ray is now a biochemistry student aiming to be a doctor.

Despite the live liver option, the American Liver Foundation says about 17,000 people are on the waiting list to get a liver transplant. Only a third of them will get a liver, and every year, as many as 1,700 people die waiting. Doctors say because of the increased risk, live liver donation is still rare. Less than five percent of liver transplants have a live donor.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Historic planes head to Dutch Harbor to mark 75th anniversary of Aleutians battle

    by Dave Leval on May 27, 18:43

    John Pletcher’s invitation is too good to ignore — a chance for myself to get back in the sky for the first time in a while. It takes his JRF-5 Grumman Goose just seconds to take flight at Anchorage’s Merrill Field, then it’s off to Dutch Harbor, to take part in the 75th anniversary of […]

  • News

    2 confirmed dead in Southeast Alaska plane crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 14:46

    Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 Two people are confirmed dead and one is in critical condition following a fatal plane crash near the small Southeast Alaska community of Haines. The crash happened around 11 a.m. Saturday, according to NTSB Alaska chief Clint Johnson. Witnesses reported the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Two of […]

  • News

    Feds to gain control over Kuskokwim king salmon management

    by Associated Press on May 27, 12:55

    BETHEL, Alaska (AP) – Starting next month, the management of king salmon on a southwestern Alaska river will transfer from state control to federal. KYUK-AM reports that as of June 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to oversee the salmon living on lower and middle Kuskokwim River. Under federal law, the switch is […]

  • Lifestyle

    Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    by Associated Press on May 27, 11:53

    SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – A publicist for rock legend Gregg Allman says the organist and singer for The Allman Brothers Band has died. He was 69. Ken Weinstein confirmed Saturday that Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia. Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates for health reasons. In March 2017, he canceled performances […]

  • Man hurling racial slurs kills 2 on Portland train

    by Associated Press on May 27, 10:35

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Latest on a stabbing on a Portland, Oregon, train that left two dead (all times local): 9:45 a.m. The 35-year-old Oregon man identified by authorities in the fatal stabbing of two people on a Portland light-rail train has a criminal record that includes stints in prison. Court records located by […]

  • News

    Juneau officials to consider zoning rules on historic homes

    by Associated Press on May 27, 10:24

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The city and borough of Juneau is considering relaxing zoning rules on historic homes. KTOO-FM reported Friday that Juneau and Douglas homeowners that want to remodel or rebuild historic homes are faced with zoning laws that complicate the process. That’s because many of the rules did not exist when the historic neighborhoods […]

  • News

    5 new AST K-9 teams hit the streets

    by Dave Leval on May 26, 21:04

    Friday was graduation day at the Alaska State Troopers headquarters. Five K-9 dogs were certified to detect drugs. Troopers now have a total of six dog teams for drug detection, but two of them, Mocha and Mak, are different; they’re the first dogs to not be trained to sniff out marijuana. Mocha and Mak were […]

  • Anchorage man found guilty of raping woman with Down syndrome

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 26, 20:56

    Last updated at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 27 An Anchorage man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman with Down syndrome. Thursday, an Anchorage jury found 36-year-old Michael Carl guilty of second- and third-degree sexual assault. According to the Anchorage Police Department, the assault occurred at the Penland Parkway trailer park in […]