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Liver Transplant Gives Utahn New Lease on Life

Jan 15, 2007 5:00 PM

Jeff Call wears the 18-inch incision from his liver transplant with pride.

"I'm proud of it. The surgery is scary, but within 24 hours you start feeling so good that you forget that you've just had an organ replaced," he said.

In February, the 56-year-old Salt Lake City native made history as University Health Care's first liver transplant patient. A former professional jazz guitarist, Call needed a transplant after years of fighting liver cirrhosis. Today, he's back home and feeling great.

"To be able to return to doing the things I love is wonderful," he said. "I can't describe how appreciative I am to the organ donor who saved my life. Organ donation is really a gift."

William Hutson, M.D., medical director of the University's Liver Transplant Program, says Utah is a great place for potential transplant patients. "Utah has one of the shortest wait times in the nation," he said. "The people in this state, and in this region, seem to recognize the value of organ donation."

In addition to pre-transplant evaluation for patients with end-stage liver disease, the University's program offers a host of other services, including collaboration with the University's Huntsman Cancer Institute in the management of liver cancer.

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