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Teen Receives Double Organ Transplant

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 7:24am

(PRNewswire-USNewswire) Texas Children's Hospital announced today that doctors recently performed a rare double organ transplant to save the life of Tyler Nelson, a 17-year-old with cystic fibrosis. The Houston native endured a 16-month wait for lungs and a liver. Tyler received those life-saving organs at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston on February 29. Doctors are optimistic about his prognosis.

Dr. David Morales, pediatric lung transplant surgeon and Dr. Jeff Heinle, surgical director of lung transplantation, performed the lung transplantation. Dr. John Goss, director of solid organ transplantation transplanted the liver. Dr. Marc Schecter, medical director of lung transplantation and Dr. Beth Carter, interim medical director of liver transplantation monitored the lung and liver function during the 16-hour surgery.

"Tyler has had a long journey with this disease which damaged both his lungs and liver. We have been monitoring him closely for the past 16 months to make sure we found the best possible match," said Dr. Schecter, also assistant professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. "Because his new lungs are not damaged by cystic fibrosis, Tyler now has four to five times more lung capacity. We expect his recovery to progress well, and we are optimistic he will enjoy a normally active lifestyle."

At Texas Children's, pediatric pulmonologists and liver specialists evaluated Nelson's medical condition and placed him on a transplant waiting list for lung and liver. The two services joined forces in managing his medical care during his wait for the two donor organs. Nelson and his family had to relocate to Houston from Grand Prairie to be near the hospital for his routine care. "The day we received the call is a day we will never forget," said Cynthia Nevels. "Tyler was asleep, and I was making breakfast. As I awakened him and we grabbed our packed bags, I felt a peace within that God hadn't forgotten about Tyler - even though our wait had been long. We are truly grateful for the care we received at Texas Children's and the gift bestowed upon us that will give Tyler a chance to fulfill his dreams."

On two occasions recently his pager went off with the promise of organ offers. Both times, the organs were not compatible for his needs. Texas Children's Hospital worked hand-in-hand with LifeGift to recover the lungs and liver for Nelson. Nelson's donor not only saved his life, but the lives of several others through the donation of a heart, two kidneys, pancreas and heart valves.

"LifeGift has been following Tyler's story for quite some time as he battled his disease and waited for a second chance. His story touched not only people in Houston, but in the state of Texas and the country as well," said Janice Whaley, managing director of clinical operations for LifeGift's Southeast Region. "This is an amazing story of hope and inspiration that will undoubtedly continue to unfold and influence how people think about the impact of donation and the ripple effect it has on so many lives."

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