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First Liver Transplant at Montefiore Saves Life of Bronx Woman

New York City, NY  (October 20, 2008) -  Today 17-year-old high school student Stephan was able to visit his mother, 51-year-old Millicent Palmer, a patient at Montefiore Medical Center who is about to be discharged after undergoing a successful liver transplant. Next spring, his mother will be able to see him graduate.  Just about a week ago, these pleasant outcomes weren't such a sure thing. 

Millicent was at the hospital when unexpectedly she suffered complete liver failure, went into a coma and had to be placed on life support.  Fortunately, Montefiore had recently become the first hospital in the Bronx to receive state permission to perform liver transplants, and the transplantation team was able to get a viable liver within hours.  Montefiore transplant surgeon Milan Kinkhabwala, MD, said without transplant Millicent would not have survived longer than 12 hours and was too sick to be moved to Manhattan for surgery.  Montefiore was able to save her life with its very first surgery, and for that Mrs. Palmer and her son are very thankful. 

Patients who suffer from severe liver disease and need a liver transplant will no longer have to seek that highly specialized surgery and critically important follow-up care outside the borough of the Bronx.  Area patients and their families now have access to this high quality care locally, without having to travel long distances, as a result of the New York State Department of Health's approval of the first and only liver transplant program in the Bronx, at Montefiore Medical Center.

"The liver transplantation program at Montefiore Medical Center fills a significant, unmet medical need for people who live in the Bronx and suffer from end-stage liver disease," said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore. "The Bronx has one of the highest rates of liver disease in the country and the highest rate of liver disease in New York State." Until now, patients in the Bronx and surrounding areas who had liver disease had to travel outside of the borough to receive care, which was an additional burden on them and their families.

"Our liver transplant program now allows these patients to be cared for closer to home, by a team of professionals with an incredible amount of experience and expertise in all aspects of liver care," said Dr. Safyer.

The liver transplant program is part of the Montefiore-Einstein Liver Center and is supported by a research component from Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Institutes of Health-funded Liver Center.

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