Jewish Hospital Lung Transplant Recipient Thankful for Gift of Organ Donation During Holiday Season

William Justice

William Justice had worked as a coal miner in Eastern Kentucky for more than 32 years, when black lung disease nearly took his life.

Justice had never been a smoker. He suffered from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, which is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust, common among coal miners. Justice spent months very ill, in-and-out of the hospital with lung problems.

“My lungs were so bad that even little things would get me down,” said Justice. “The doctors told me that I didn’t have much time left.”

Finally, his doctors recommended that Justice visit Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky for an evaluation. At that time, he began pre-testing for a lung transplant. His heart was strong, but his doctors asked that he meet correct body mass index (BMI) and weight requirements before he would be eligible for a transplant. Justice worked hard to meet the requirements. On Valentine’s Day in 2017, he was placed on the list to receive a lung transplant.

“I knew that a transplant was risky, but I felt like it was my only hope,” said Justice. “The doctors were confident that they could save my life, if an organ donation became available.”

Justice continued treatment while he waited for a lifesaving organ donation. He traveled to Louisville for a visit at the Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center on November 20, 2017. He thought never expected it would be more than a check-up.

“That day, one of the coordinators came and found me, and she was crying,” he said. “She told me, ‘we found you a set of new lungs, and you’re receiving a transplant.”

Justice underwent a lung transplant on November 22, 2017. It was a 10-hour procedure, and he spent around six-weeks recovering in the hospital. He was released on January 3, 2018, ready to slowly ease into his new, healthy life.

This Thanksgiving, Justice says he is most thankful for his organ donor and the donor’s family. He has never met his donor’s family, but he wants them to know how thankful he is for the gift of life. Although his medications prevent him from doing so, he wishes that he could register as an organ donor himself and help others in need, just as he received a lifesaving organ donation.

“There are good people out there who make this possible,” he said. “I understand that with the good, comes the bad. A family lost their loved one for me to continue my life. For that, I am beyond grateful. I hope my story is eye-opening, and encourages others to register as donors.”

Justice still attends pulmonary rehabilitation three times per week in his hometown of Phyllis, Kentucky. He recently spoke to a Donate Life group in his area about the importance of organ donation.

Double Lung Transplant Patient Shares Story of Hope

Double Lung Transplant Gives Patient a Brighter Future

Double Lung Transplant Gives Patient a Brighter Future

Zack Barnum has never known life without cystic fibrosis. Diagnosed with the disease only seven days after his birth, the early prognosis was not good.

Zack Barnum“When I was born, the average life expectancy was maybe living to be a teenager,” said Zack. “As I’ve gotten older and more medical breakthroughs have happened, the average life expectancy is now in the 30s to 40s for someone with cystic fibrosis.”

Those medical breakthroughs enabled Zack to get through life. What he called “occasional tune-ups” consisted of hospital stays for something as simple as a cold.  Zack soldiered on though, knowing that someday his life could be saved by a double lung transplant.

“I joked to myself and to my family that I wanted to make it to age 40, and then things could fall apart,” said Zack. “Though it wasn’t the intent; it sort of happened just that way – I probably should’ve picked a different number.”

At age 40, the infections Zack used to fight off suddenly got more serious. His lung function decreased to 15 percent, and without a double lung transplant; he was given only six months to live.

With only two-and-a-half months of life expectancy left, Zack received his transplant. Even though several complications led to an extended hospital stay, Zack was amazed at the changes that had taken place once leaving the hospital.

“I came out of the hospital after being there for five-and-a-half weeks, and everything had bloomed,” said Zack. When I went to the hospital, trees were barren; when I came out, everything was in full bloom. That was so impactful to me – you spend this time in the hospital and the world around you changes.”

Even though there were dramatic changes in nature and in the world around him in those few weeks, Zack’s recovery would take time.

“Walking home, getting up three steps was difficult,” said Zack. “That’s even after doing physical therapy in the hospital and trying to move around. I pretty much came in the door and collapsed on the couch. For the next month, it was moving from the couch to the bed with my wife and kids trying to help take care of me.”

Slowly but surely, Zack recovered. There was no more need for oxygen. His lung function skyrocketed to 90 percent, and he was able to start enjoying things in life, like bike-riding. A future that at one point could only be measured in weeks, now seemed much brighter.

“I hope that the future holds for me that I get to see my kids graduate from high school – that would be wonderful, said Zack. “I would love to see my kids get married someday and to have that first dance with them; I think that’s what all dads think of when they have daughters.”

Five years prior to his surgery, Zack moved from Indianapolis to Louisville. He knew that when the day came for his lung transplant surgery, he wanted to be close to both his family and Jewish Hospital.

As a national leader in organ transplantation, Jewish Hospital has performed more than 5,000 transplants over more than three decades.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to be alive again,” said Zack. “I want to share that same chance with others, and help raise funds for Jewish Hospital, for organ donation and for cystic fibrosis research and treatment. It’s critical to give other people the same opportunity that I have been given.”

April is National Donate Life Month. If you would like to learn more about organ donation, join us on Thursday, April 26 at the Kentucky Derby Festival Health Fair at 4th Street Live from 4 to 8 p.m. During the event, we’ll be providing information about organ donation, the Trager Transplant Center and ways you can help make a difference. 

Farm Safety Tips for Your Hands

Farm Safety Tips for Your Hands

Farm Safety Tips for Your Hands

It’s hard to imagine life without the benefits of powerful farm equipment, but farm implements also pose dangers to the people who use them. Each year in the United States farming is ranked as one of the most dangerous professions, with many farming accidents involving the upper extremities.

Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center offers the following safety guidelines to help keep you, your family and employees safe while working with farm equipment.

Farm Equipment Safety

  • Know the proper use, and limitations of your equipment. If you do not have instructions, contact the manufacturer.
  • Match tractors with equipment of same power and speed levels to prevent machine failure and possible serious injury.
  • Use heavy-duty equipment for heavy-duty jobs.
  • Do not modify or remove safety features such as kill switches, roll bars or control bars. Use safety features and heed the manufacturer’s warnings!
  • Use runners and chain guards on mowers.
  • Keep power transmission shafts covered and shield power takeoff shafts properly.
  • Disengage or unplug all power takeoffs, blades, cutterbars, crimper rolls or other moving parts before handling equipment.
  • Do not use hands to clear jammed equipment.
  • Keep hands and feet clear of moving parts.
  • Inspect controls and parts for loose nuts and bolts before each use.

General Farm Safety

  • Avoid working alone. Use “the buddy system.” Your buddy should know safe usage of equipment and will be able to get help immediately in case of an accident.
  • Never allow children to operate equipment, ride double or play or work nearby. Children may be hit by flying debris or dragged into moving parts. They are not strong or knowledgeable enough to handle equipment properly.
  • Avoid loose or baggy clothing. Clothing can be dragged into machinery.
  • Be vigilant of area and terrain. Stumps, rocks, and hidden debris can cause overturns, and low tree limbs can knock an operator off a tractor.
  • Inspect banks and slopes for stability. On steep slopes, plan path of travel downhill. Never take shortcuts!
  • Report any skin conditions to your physician. Farm soil contains many pathogens conducive to serious infection. Use chemical-resistant work gloves to prevent burns and infection.

To learn more about the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, please contact 502.587.4799 or 502.561.4263. For additional information on hand care emergencies, call 502.540.3727.

A Lifetime of Giving Back

A Lifetime of Giving Back

A Lifetime of Giving Back

After dedicating years to improving the care of others, Marcia Schuster recently retired from her role as a volunteer. Her spirit of service is an inspiration to us all.

Many people struggle to find time to give to something greater than themselves. So when someone dedicates herself and donates more than 4,500 hours of her time, it deserves special recognition.

A Volunteer Career

 

Marcia SchusterSchuster has been a volunteer at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, since 1972. During her decades as a volunteer, Schuster was:

  • Elected to the Jewish Hospital Board in 1983
  • Vice chair of Jewish Hospital Health Services
  • Awarded the Jewish Hospital Board presidency in 1993
  • Honored as a life member of the board in 2000
  • Presented with the Volunteer of the Year award in 2011

“We can’t help but applaud Schuster’s contributions as a trustee, board chair and volunteer,” said Richard Schultz, vice chair of the KentuckyOne Health Board of Directors. “We are all grateful for her years of service and everything she has given to us.”

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Inspired by Schuster’s spirit of giving? Follow her footsteps by registering to volunteer your time today.

9 Tips to Keep Your Hands Safe

9 Tips to Keep Your Hands Safe

9 Tips to Keep Your Hands Safe

We use our hands so frequently that we rarely stop to consider how much they are exposed.

With hand injuries being a common cause for emergency room visits, Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center offers some helpful tips to keep injuries at bay.

  1. Use warm water and soap to keep hands clean.
  2. Carefully and routinely clean your fingernails. Clip your fingernails regularly and file any rough edges. Never bite or chew your fingernails.
  3. Wear protective gloves when cleaning with harmful chemicals.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Do not put water on a grease fire. Leave the flaming pan in place and put out the fire with an extinguisher.
  5. If a burn occurs, immediately place the injured area in cold water, then contact a doctor.
  6. Stay alert when using knives in the kitchen. Always cut away from hands.
  7. Trash cans and bags can lead to serious injury – your hands will inevitably find the dirty, sharp object your eye could not see.
  8. Be aware of what dishes have been placed in a dishwater; the blade of a sharp knife may lead to a cut.
  9. Refrain from slamming doors shut to prevent crushed fingers or hands.

Customizing Knee Replacements, One Patient at a Time

Customizing Knee Replacements, One Patient at a Time

Customizing Knee Replacements, One Patient at a Time

Thanks to robot-assisted technology, knee replacement procedures are tailored even more closely to each individual patient.

Is the idea of a knee replacement procedure daunting, despite living with severe daily joint pain? New technology available at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, may help soothe those nerves. Stryker robot-assisted knee replacements get you home and back to daily life quicker and with less pain and scarring.

“Robot-assisted technology tells me the size of the total knee implant and exactly where it needs to be placed on the patient before I begin the procedure,” said Arthur Malkani, MD, orthopedic surgeon with KentuckyOne Health Orthopedic Associates. “We try to match the patient’s own bone anatomy using precise robot-assisted technology. This leads to better results for patients in both the short- and long-term.”

 

A Better Fit

 

Every patient and knee is different. The Stryker robot-assisted knee replacement system allows the knee replacement to truly be the best fit for each specific patient.

“I see real-time, 3-D information on a computer screen that helps me place the implants more accurately. It helps us do a better job for each patient,” Dr. Malkani said. “Suppose you are driving from Louisville to Little Rock, Arkansas. Think of what GPS does for you while driving in terms of information and peace of mind — with robot-assisted technology, it’s as if I have a GPS telling me what size I need and the best way to position the parts.”

Any patient who needs a partial or total knee replacement is eligible for the robot-assisted procedure.

“If a patient’s new knee is balanced and the implants are aligned optimally for them, they’ll be happier,” Dr. Malkani said. “Who wouldn’t enjoy faster recovery and less pain?”

 

Do I Need a knee replacement?

 

Almost 5 million individuals in the U.S. have undergone a total knee replacement surgery. Should you join them?

Knee replacement, a procedure that involves replacing damaged parts of your natural knee with artificial pieces, is one of the most commonly performed joint replacement procedure. Most people have it to ease pain associated with arthritis and to regain mobility. If you’ve reached the point where conservative methods are no longer enough to manage your pain, it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery.

Knee replacements aren’t for everyone, however. If you’re obese, live with any kind of nerve, lung or heart disorder, or have an infection in your knee, you may not be a candidate for the procedure. Have a conversation with your doctor to find out if a knee replacement is right for you.

Learn more about robot-assisted knee replacements, or call 844.318.4459. 

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

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Good Vibrations: Leading-edge treatment for a life-limiting gastrointestinal (GI) disorder

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations: Leading-edge treatment for a life-limiting gastrointestinal disorder

In 1992, while practicing in Memphis, Tennessee, Thomas Abell, MD, medical director at the Jewish Hospital GI Motility Clinic and professor of medicine at the University of Louisville, and his GI team developed a gastric electrical stimulation therapy, now called the Medtronic Enterra Therapy System. This innovative therapy is used to treat symptoms of gastroparesis, a stomach disorder affecting roughly 5 million Americans.

The condition results in slow digestion of food, which causes severe, chronic nausea and vomiting. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the therapy in 2000, eight years after the first system was implanted. Prior to the advent of the Enterra Therapy System, patients had limited and minimally effective treatment options, including dietary modifications, medications, tube feeding or surgery.

Electrifying Effects

Enterra Therapy works by emitting mild electrical pulses to stimulate the top portion of the stomach’s wall. Its high success rate offers new hope to patients suffering from gastroparesis symptoms.

“This device is a great option for patients who have tried other treatments but haven’t experienced improvement,” Dr. Abell said. “This new approach is highly effective — about 80 percent of patients experience a considerable improvement in their symptoms.”

To provide more cost-efficient care, the Jewish Hospital GI Motility Clinic first offers patients a temporary Enterra device, placed outside the abdomen in an outpatient endoscopy lab, to see if their bodies respond to therapy and symptoms improve.

Watch the video below to hear Dr. Abell discuss Enterra Therapy

“We can usually tell within a week if the therapy is going to work for a patient,” Dr. Abell said. “If they respond well to the treatment, we surgically place a permanent device, which is inserted under the skin over the abdomen.”

Because the permanent device requires a surgical procedure, patients need several weeks to recover from the surgery before the device is activated.

“This therapy has been evolving greatly over the last 16 years since it was first approved by the FDA, and it holds great promise for patients who suffer from these symptoms, which can significantly impact quality of life,” Dr. Abell said. “We continue to see great success with this therapy, and look forward to seeing even more improvement as we learn more about this condition and similar GI illnesses.”

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Winter edition of One Health magazine. For more stories like this one, subscribe to One Health today.

A Heart for Transplant

A Heart For Transplant

Kathy Anderson has a heart for organ donation. Literally.

When she was just 20 years old, Anderson received a donor’s heart. Now, 30 years later, she doesn’t miss a beat.

Anderson, of Brandenburg, had been taking medicine while she was pregnant with her twin girls that she later learned had caused her heart to deteriorate. By the time the girls were delivered, her health was serious. Her babies were just three weeks old when her physician, Dr. Laman Gray, flew to Florida to retrieve the heart of a 23-year-old donor.

Kathy Anderson and Family

Kathy Anderson, center, and family

“Transplant was so foreign back then,” Anderson said.

Organ donation took on a new meaning for their family in 2010, when Anderson’s brother died in a car accident. His liver was donated to a woman who was being treated at the University of Kentucky.

Anderson now returns to Jewish Hospital every year for a checkup, and she’s actively helped raise funds to support the hospital system through the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

“Jewish Hospital is the reason I’m here,” she said. “I’ve had this heart longer than the one I was born with.”

Say Goodbye to Blood Thinners

Goodbye to Blood Thinners

Say goodbye to blood thinners

A small umbrella shaped device is revolutionizing stroke prevention therapy for patients with atrial fibrillation.

The WATCHMAN™ device is now available at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, which may eliminate long-term use of blood thinners for some patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AFib).

“This is a therapy revolution for stroke prevention in these patients,” said Rakesh Gopinathannair, MD, MA, FHRS, director of cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Jewish Hospital. “If you have been told you need to take blood thinners for the rest of your life because you have AFib and you have concerns about doing so, this is a great alternative.”

How It Works

Shaped like a small umbrella, the WATCHMAN implant (pictured below) is designed to catch blood clots that patients with AFib may develop. A highly trained cardiac electrophysiologist or interventional cardiologist inserts the implant, which is roughly the size of a quarter, using a minimally invasive procedure. The physician places a large IV into the femoral vein in the groin and threads the WATCHMAN device through a catheter until it reaches the upper left chamber of the heart.

Once in place, the device is well-positioned to catch clots that may form in the left atrial appendage, thus preventing these clots from breaking loose and traveling to the brain or lungs and causing a stroke.

The procedure to place the WATCHMAN is performed under general anesthesia, and typically takes between one and two hours. Patients typically stay in the hospital for just one day and then return home.

Easing Off Medication

Following the procedure, doctors will prescribe six weeks of a blood thinner, but that is only temporary.

“Usually within four-and-a-half months, the patient can be off all blood thinners — possibly for the rest of his or her life,” Dr. Gopinathannair said. “If you are seeking an alternative to blood-thinning medications, talk with your health care provider about this option.”

If you have AFib and are on blood thinners, you might be a candidate for WATCHMAN. To reach the Jewish Hospital WATCHMAN Team, call 844.206.3936.

“The WATCHMAN™ will be a game changer in how we prevent strokes in patients with nonvalvular AFib. Jewish Hospital offers patients in the region a great opportunity to try this option, and we have a great team in place with all of the expertise necessary to get this done.”

Rakesh Gopinathannair, MD, MA, FHRS

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 edition of One Health Magazine. For the latest news on KentuckyOne Health, visit our News Center and read more about the WATCHMAN procedure.