Ivan Moreno, AP
A Colorado hospital said that it has temporarily suspended live donor liver transplants while it investigates the death of a South Dakota man who donated part of his liver to his brother. The death would be Colorado's first of a live liver donor and the fourth in the country if it's ruled it was a result of the procedure, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing.
The University of Colorado Hospital, which performed its first successful live donor liver transplant in 1997, is continuing other transplants but is taking a step back from live donor liver transplants following the death of 34-year-old Ryan Arnold.
“If there's something that needs to be corrected, we will correct it,” spokeswoman Erika Matich said. The hospital has conducted 141 successful live donor liver transplants. Ryan Arnold died four days after the surgery in which he gave part of his liver to his brother Chad, who lives in suburban Denver. Chad Arnold was home briefly but was readmitted to a Denver-area hospital to continue his recovery from a liver disease.
“I think overall his attitude is to make his life count,” said Rod Arnold, 42, referring to how his brother Chad is holding up. UNOS spokesman Joel Newman said the living donor liver transplants are relatively rare in the U.S., where the procedure has been conducted 4,126 times since 1989.
In addition to an internal investigation, the hospital has also requested that physicians who are members of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons review the case, Matich said. “Everybody at the hospital is very distraught, anybody who had anything to do with this wonderful family,” she said.
Ryan Arnold went into cardiac arrest and then fell into a coma, Rod Arnold said. The coroner hasn't determined a cause of death, he said. “He was a man of uncommon character and someone I looked up to,” Rod Arnold said. “What he did for Chad was really just an extension of how he lived his life.”
Rod Arnold said his brother never wavered in his decision to give part of his liver to help his brother battle an incurable liver disease known as PSC.