Adventist News

​500th Liver Transplant Patient at LLUMC

Francisco Munoz was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California several weeks ago barely clinging to life and in dire need of a liver transplant. Today, the 52-year-old Coachella resident is undergoing rehabilitation after becoming the 500th patient to receive a liver transplant at the world-renowned medical center.

“I am very happy to have received a liver and I look forward to being home again,” said Munoz, a farm worker. “My wish is to go back home and be able to spend time with my children.”

A lifetime of alcohol use, starting when he was a teen, and a diagnosis of Hepatitis C, is blamed for the deterioration of Munoz’ liver. He had stopped drinking alcohol and has been sober for a while now, but a toll had already been taken on his liver.

“If I had known how much suffering I would have because of alcohol, I never would have started,” he said. Munoz had been on a liver transplant list, and received a liver transplant on March 1, after being taken to the hospital in very serious condition. He was on life support and in a coma for weeks.

“He would not have made it otherwise,” said Dr. Michael de Vera, his liver transplant surgeon and director of the Loma Linda University Medical Center Transplantation Institute.

Munoz’ survival and positive health outlook is testament to the quality of patient care he received and the commitment of the medical staff at the hospital, Dr. de Vera said.

“It truly is teamwork -- a multi-disciplinary team effort on the part of the different professionals and departments within the hospital,” Dr. de Vera said. He said the first liver transplant at the hospital was done in 1993, and the program has since matured and improved over the years.

Munoz, who is undergoing rehabilitation from the transplant, was released from the hospital on April 8.

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