Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Wellness

Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Indiana Woman Donates Liver to Save Brother-in-Law

By Andrew Schorr
 
Rate This
Indiana Woman Donates Liver to Save Brother-in-Law 0 5
woman-saved-brother-in-law-with-liver-donation
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Sandy Smoljan, a healthy woman of 55, made an unusual sacrifice to save the life of her brother-in-law Al.

A few months ago she volunteered to let doctors transplant 65 percent of her liver into Al because he was suffering from end stage liver disease.

Now, with her liver regenerated (yes, livers do grow back), she has a special bond with Al and they are reminded every day because they are co-workers at the county health department in Crown Point, Indiana.

Al is married to Sandy’s older sister, Vicki. Over 30 years, Sandy has come to see him more as a brother than a brother-in-law. When Vicki told her Al’s best hope was to receive a liver from a living donor, Sandy immediately volunteered.

As she said, “I am a healthy person and if I can help another person become healthy again, I am all for it.”

But taking a liver from a living donor is not at all without risks. Death is a possibility as well as infection and a variety of complications.

So potential donors go through a lot of counseling to ensure they know what they are volunteering for. Sandy never had a question in her mind.

With the ongoing shortage of organs from people who die, living donor transplant of kidneys and livers has become more common. But there are risks.

However, it is truly a gift of life and for Sandy Smoljan, it was a gift for a dear family member she felt certain she wanted to give.

To hear Sandy tell her story and learn more from her physician, Dr. Talia Baker, Director of the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please listen to the Patient Power program, Advances in Living Donor Liver Transplant, found here: http://www.patientpower.info/program/advances-in-living-donor-liver-tran...

About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1625 Health

Changed

603 Lives

Saved

453 Lives
2 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

What do you think is the most important health test for women?:
View Results