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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Applause - Charity Tillemann-Dick, Double Lung Transplant Recipient
LifeGiving: Transplant Stories
Donation and Recovery
Living with the Threat of Rejection
Feagler and Friends - Increasing Organ Donation Awareness
Katie Baker profiles Charity Tillemann-Dick, an accomplished female opera singer who received a double-lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. The segment will explore how this procedure changed her life and her first love - singing - forever.
This half-hour television documentary tells the story of organ donation through four segments that illustrate the transplant 'process' full circle. It starts with the brave decision of one family to donate their loved one's organs and tissue. It ends with the gratitude of recipients who received the gift of life, as well as a look at the tremendous need for additional organs to save the lives of others still waiting.
Donation & Recovery - Segment One
In this story a family that makes the decision to donate the organs and tissue of a deceased loved one is profiled. Only 1% of the people that die can be organ donors by virtue of the fact they have to die in a hospital and be at the point or near the point of impending brain death. In most cases that means they are victims of a car accident or some other form of trauma that leaves them brain dead but still breathing on a ventilator. This segment explains how such patients are identified and how families are approached. It goes on to explain what happens when a deceased donor body goes into the operating room and surgeons 'recover' donated organs and tissues. Then the process of allocation for recovered organs is discussed. Animation it utilized to illustrate the fact that one organ donor can save up to eight lives and how the various tissues from donors including ligaments, bone, and skin can benefit up to 50 people suffering from different illnesses and ailments. Along the way, the segment covers the story of a southern Ohio man dying from emphysema and his wife as they arrive at Burke Lakefront Airport. He is rushed to the Cleveland Clinic and receives a pair of lungs during a complicated surgery that is done literally in the middle of the night - after the Cleveland Clinic recovery team arrives back in the operating room with the donor lungs on ice.
Due to the high prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the leading causes of kidney failure, the kidney stands as the organ in the greatest demand. At any one time, over 85,000 people are waiting for a human kidney. In Ohio, the average wait time is four to six years. For many that means going on dialysis, which is extremely hard on the body and lessens the patient's life span. This segment chronicles the experience of a Northeast, Ohio man who stands the best shot at beating kidney failure thanks to the process of 'living' donation. It's the story of two brother-in-laws. Eight months ago, 42-year old David Frederick of Mentor went to the doctor because he thought he had migraine headaches. Instead, he was rushed to the emergency room and found out he has kidney failure from a rare virus. His brother-in-law, 47-year old John Halfacre, was found to be a match and is now willing to donate one of his kidneys. But being a living donor is not for everyone; there are both emotional and physical factors to consider. This segment chronicles how Halfacre was found to be an appropriate physiological match and viewers witness the family drama unfolding as Lisa Halfacre, who is both the donor's wife and the recipient's older sister, shares her fear that if things don't go right she could lose a husband; a brother; or both. We feel the emotion build the morning of surgery as we document the operation at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. We watch as surgeon Kenneth Woodside removes the left kidney from Halfacre and hands it to the recipient's surgeon, Dr. Edmund Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez prepares the kidney for transplantation on the 'work bench' and then implants it into Frederick. Six hours later, as Frederick is rolled out of the operating room with his brother-in-law's kidney now implanted in his lower abdomen, we learn the real challenge is just beginning. No matter what the organ, the greatest challenge of transplant medicine lies after the operation. That's when the big fight begins to tame the body's immune system to accept the new organ.
This segment uses the story of Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Nancy McDonnell as a patient with a double lung transplant to illustrate how every transplant patient - no matter what the organ - must manage a complex array of medicines to ward off the threat of rejection for the rest of their lives. For double lung transplant patients, the threat is extremely grave; at the end of five years, only 50% of double lung patients are still alive. Viewers follow McDonnell through a lung biopsy for her first year check-up and follow the tissue and fluid specimens taken from her new lungs into the pathology lab where world renown lung pathologist, Dr. Carol Farver, looks for signs of rejection or infection. Viewers meet another double lung transplant, Andrea Coleman, who had the same delicate operation just six months ago. Coleman is still in a very perilous state as her recent biopsies revealed signs of trouble. Viewers learn from Dr. Marie Budev of the Cleveland Clinic that managing such patients requires a constant balancing act between weakening the patient's immune system enough so it does not attack its new lungs while keeping it strong enough to ward off dangerous infections. Finding the right mix of medications to manage chronic rejection in transplant patients is tantamount to finding the right mix of chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer patients. Further, as viewers learn from McDonnell and Coleman, it also means living in the shadow of the threat of rejection for the rest of their lives.
This epilogue looks in on the donor family viewers met in segment one and all the transplant patients met throughout the program. How are they doing now? What is their prognosis? How has the experience changed their lives?
The need for organs is great and so is the need to spread the word about organ donation. Cuyahoga County falls below the state average for donor registration rates. Dick interviews Dr. J. Daryl Thornton from MetroHealth about the need for more public education about organ donation, especially in the African American community. And, in a special segment prepared exclusively for this episode of Feagler & Friends (Katie Baker) viewers learn how donations rates improved greatly in one Cleveland neighborhood since the passing of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who was an organ donor. Viewers hear from her son, Mervyn Jones II, about how it feels to be part of the life giving process.
Last Reviewed: Jan 21, 2011