Jim Rice, 55
Medical data analyst, St. Louis
William Chapman, 51
Washington University surgeon and chief of abdominal transplant
Jim Rice had almost given up hope. He was a healthy, physically active person until September 2005, when he was shocked to learn he had serious liver problems. By Christmas, he was unable to work or function normally. With persistence from his wife, he came to see hepatologists Jeffrey Crippin, MD, and Kevin Korenblat, MD, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and soon after received a liver transplant from surgeon William Chapman, MD, in March 2006.
On choosing Barnes-Jewish Hospital
My wife, Cynthia, made this decision for me. I started in a program at another hospital. She saw I was getting weaker daily and made the decision to transfer me where I could receive the highest quality medical care. She actually shoved me in the back of a van and took me to Barnes-Jewish—not the traditional procedure for enrolling in a transplant program. I am alive today because my wife wasn’t going to give up.
On the hospital Care
I remember little of the time I spent at Barnes-Jewish, but my wife told me of many, like the doctors and a nurse named Rosaline, who went out of their way to keep me alive until a liver became available.
After the transplant
I expected there would be significant limitations in what I could do, but instead my life was completely restored as if nothing ever happened. I was able to participate in the 2008 U.S. Transplant games in the high jump and 400 meters.
Around 100 to 115 liver transplants are done at Barnes-Jewish Hospital each year, including pediatric patients. Nationally there are around 6,000 annually. The majority of centers perform 50 or fewer transplants, so we are one of the larger centers.
On patient wait times
The waiting time is very variable, mainly based on the severity of liver disease. Overall, patients here are able to get transplanted earlier than similar patients on the east or west coast, which is an advantage for our patients.
On the hospital care
Our expert hepatology team assesses the degree of liver disease and treats complications that can occur from the liver failure. After the transplant, patients are typically out of the hospital after a week with just follow-ups, unless there are complications.