Baltimore Man Donates Part of His Liver to Save Girlfriends Life
Robert Hopkins, 25, and Jennifer Dietrick, 25, both of Baltimore, had been dating seriously for more than two years when Jennifer was diagnosed in February 2012 with acute liver failure caused by excessive levels of acetaminophen. She had been taking acetaminophen for several weeks as she recovered from injuries sustained in a car accident, unaware that overuse of this medicine could lead to liver failure.
Jennifer's condition deteriorated rapidly, and she needed a liver transplant. No livers were available through regional procurement organizations, so Dr. John LaMattina approached Jennifer's loved ones about considering a living liver donation -- taking a piece of one of their livers and transplanting it into Jennifer. Rob stepped forward without hesitation and proved to be a perfect match.
This type of living donor liver transplant is not as common as other types of organ transplants and can be a very complicated procedure. Only 200 to 300 living donor liver transplants are performed each year in the U.S. Unlike living kidney donation, living donor liver transplants are encouraged only between close personal friends or family members of the recipient. The University of Maryland Medical Center is the only hospital in Maryland to perform adult living donor liver transplants.