Liver donor, recipient return to Maine

Posted June 14, 2010, at 8:44 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The two Maine Coast Memorial Hospital workers recovering from liver transplant surgery last month are now recuperating back in Maine.

Jan Watson of Surry, a registered nurse at the hospital, and Deb Hubbard of Cherryfield, the hospital’s information systems Help Desk coordinator, underwent surgery at Yale Medical Center in New Haven, Conn., on April 26.

The 14-hour surgery involved the transplant of a portion of Hubbard’s healthy liver to replace Watson’s.

Hubbard was flown back to Maine near the end of May by Angel Flight and already has returned to work at the hospital, according to MCMH spokesperson Jane Sanderson.

Watson was released from the hospital on May 22, but had to remain in New Haven near the hospital for several weeks. She returned to her home last week and paid a visit to co-workers at the hospital Friday. Watson will need to travel to New Haven for weekly checkups for some time.

Watson, 46, suffers from a rare hereditary disease that affects the function of blood vessels, causing too much blood to be pumped to her heart. It has resulted in heart failure and stomach pain from digestive problems, among other complications.

Hubbard donated 60 percent of her liver to Watson. The liver sections in each woman are regenerating rapidly, according to Sanderson.