Barnes-Jewish has been the hospital of choice for
Joyce Harris-Fields for decades. Although she was born
in Tennessee, she moved to St. Louis when she was
three. She had six of her seven children at Barnes-Jewish.
Years ago, when she contracted hepatitis C, she came to
Barnes-Jewish for care and has been treated frequently
at the hospital as the disease has advanced.
When Harris-Fields developed hepatopulmonary
syndrome as a result of chronic liver disease caused
by the hepatitis C, her care team knew it was time to
put her on the liver transplant list. Hepatopulmonary
syndrome includes shortness of breath and hypoxemia
(low oxygen levels in the blood of the arteries).
“With the onset of hepatopulmonary syndrome, patients
are considered a priority for a transplant,” says Pam
Thurston, MSN, RN, CCTC, transplant coordinator for
On oxygen 24 hours a day, Harris-Fields’ condition
was rapidly deteriorating. Fortunately, she was on the
transplant list less than a month. Her recovery has been
going remarkably well. “I have recovered fairly quickly
and Pam was very helpful to me before and after the
transplant,” says Harris-Fields.
Harris-Fields is regaining her strength and says she
uses oxygen now only when needed. Caring for her
two-year-old grandson is now her priority.