Easter brings new life for liver transplant recipient

Photo by Chris Sonnenday, M.D., taken Easter morning.

Photo by Chris Sonnenday, M.D., taken Easter morning.

Easter was already a special day for Nelson and Carole Thulin. The Milford couple was excited to have their three adult children home to spend a meaningful Sunday together, rejoicing in the new life signified by the holiday, and the promise of spring.

This year’s holiday started early, though, with a 1 a.m. phone call: Nelson Thulin, too, would receive the gift of life this year. His new liver was ready, and he needed to head into the hospital for surgery.

“There couldn’t be a better day,” Thulin says. “People were always saying their prayers were with me, and then I spent Easter Sunday in the operating room.”

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Teen waits for second gift of life

Donate Life Month: 19-year old Kyle is among more than 3,000 people waiting for an organ in Michigan

For Amy and Pat Petrlich, it all feels too familiar.

Seventeen years later they are at the same hospital, with the same fears and hopes, waiting for the same news – that a heart may be available to save their daughter’s life.

Last time, Kyle was just a toddler. Today, she’s 19.

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Teen’s reaction after heart transplant goes viral

Trevor Sullivan’s mother hadn’t even meant to videotape her son’s emotional awakening after heart transplant surgery. She’d intended to take a photo with her mobile phone, but accidentally set it on video, instead.

Trevor, 15, said it was OK. He wanted to tell friends and family following his medical journey on Facebook that he felt “amazing” after 10 months on a transplant waiting list. “I’m so happy,” he said tearfully. “I’ve been waiting so long…I can breathe again. I can talk.”

The Southfield, Mich., family posted the touching video online, and it was shared on the Facebook site for Gift of Life Michigan. The video went viral from there, attracting upwards of 1.7 million views and international media coverage including nods from CNN, the Today show and the Washington Post.

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Hairstylist almost cuts off arm, but is back in salon after hand reattachment surgery

Surgeon leading hand transplant program rebuilds patient's arm, reattaches hand

Robert Ruffer was working on his farm with a saw, cutting up pieces of wood, when a horrible accident happened.

His sleeve got  caught on the blade. The blade ripped through his arm and his bones.  His son fashioned a quick tourniquet out of a belt and waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Ruffer arrived at the University of Michigan Health System with his arm hanging by just a flap of skin.

Ruffer ended up in the care of Kagan Ozer, M.D., the hand surgeon who is leading U-M’s new hand transplant program. Ozer reconstructed Ruffer’s arm, building back bone, tendons and nerves. Continue reading

Wolverines Won’t Wait | Raising Awareness for Organ Donation

We hate the wait, so we made a line where there shouldn't be one

WolverinesWontWait_crowd2More than 100 people gathered on The Diag in the middle of the U-M campus, along with Wolverines for Life, to create a line where there shouldn’t be a line. Participants raised awareness about how many people are waiting in line for life-saving donation of organs, blood or bone marrow. Our Wolverines for Life group strives for no tolerance of wait list deaths.

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Breathing easier after groundbreaking lung transplant

Kyle Clark is first in state to receive lungs optimized in a special incubator

lung transplant

Kyle Clark after lung transplant

Nearly two months after receiving a new set of lungs, “I’m not sore!” is the first thing Kyle Clark, 25, of Imlay City likes to share about his near-miraculous lung transplant experience at the University of Michigan Health System. Kyle was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that floods the body with mucus, which builds up and reduces the ability of organs like the lungs to do their job.

Over the years, cystic fibrosis slowly damaged Kyle’s lungs, interfering with his college education, job and one of his favorite pastimes, hunting. By 2014 Kyle needed oxygen round the clock and reluctantly gave up most of the activities he loved. Breathing became a daily struggle, and Kyle was even admitted to UMHS at one point in critical condition, though he recovered enough to go home.

A medical device new to the market saved Kyle’s life. On Feb. Continue reading