April 23, 2018
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Nurse’s liver transplant on hold for more tests


ELLSWORTH, Maine — The liver transplant for a nurse at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital has been postponed.

The surgery for Jan Watson of Surry, who was scheduled to receive a portion of co-worker Deb Hubbard’s liver, had been scheduled for March 16 at the Yale Medical Center in New Haven, Conn.

Although the two are not related to each other, initial testing had indicated that Hubbard was a match for Watson. After a review by the surgical team at Yale on March 1, one of the team members requested additional information on some of Hubbard’s blood work, according to information from MCMH.

This testing is done at a lab in California and will take 14 to 21 days to process, so the March 16 surgery was postponed.

The test is being done for the protection of both Watson and Hubbard, MCMH officials said. If the blood test is positive, there is the possibility that the liver would not regenerate. Depending on test results, the surgery will be rescheduled or a liver biopsy will be done on Hubbard.

The transplant team at Yale remains optimistic that Hubbard will be a matched donor for Watson, but they want to make sure they have researched all potential problems, MCMH officials said. The new window for review is between March 15 and March 24.

Watson suffers from a rare hereditary disease that affects the functions of the blood vessels resulting in too much blood being pumped to her heart, sapping it from other areas of her body. It has resulted in heart failure and stomach pain from digestive problems that required the insertion of a feeding tube.

Once the procedure has final approval, surgeons will remove 60 percent of Hubbard’s liver and use that portion of the organ to replace Watson’s liver.

If all goes well, both portions of the liver will regenerate to create two functioning livers in the two women.

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