- Our Team
- For Patients
- For Physicians
- Organ Donors
- Financial Donors
- Make a Referral
Lee Brosnan’s Story: Sclerosing Cholangitis/ Liver Transplant
In 2003, routine blood work revealed Lee Brosnan had primary sclerosing cholangitis, an autoimmune condition.
News of this disease was a shock to both him and his wife Kathy since they were busy enjoying thier lives and careers with plans to start a family soon. Lee was currently showing no signs of the disease but the diagnosis changed his goals keeping him in Chicago to seek care from Mayo Clinic. While managing his disease and watching his MELD score, to tell the severity of his diseased liver, he picked three transplant centers — Mayo, University of Wisconsin, and Indiana University Health Transplant — to await a liver transplant.
After waiting four months at Mayo, and seeing his health worsen, he came to Indiana University Health University Hospital and knew this was the team that was going to make it happen. Lee said, “Confidence of doctors Joe Tector and Marwan Ghabril, coupled with the center’s short wait times and strong outcomes, gave me calmness. Even going into the operating room and with all of the unknowns, I still believed everything was going to work out for me. The entire team was experienced and encouraging. They embraced my enthusiasm to remain fit and follow the example of my mentor, Olympic snowboarder Chris Klug, whose advice was to “walk, walk, walk” after transplant.
Just a few months post transplant Lee hit Indy’s streets by foot, and got to experience the Indianapolis Colts’ playoff mania. Lee said, “I couldn’t feel better. I am extremely grateful for the gift I have received, especially because I have three young children. My life has been a wonderful journey, and I like to think of my transplant as just a bump in the road.”
Missy Bucher’s Story: Stomach Tumor/ Multivisceral Transplant
Missy Bucher had always been healthy working out 12 hours a week, regularly taking spin classes and playing competitive volleyball. On December 4, 2004 she spiked a 104-degree fever with a stomachache and doctors thought she had the flu. However after a series of tests they found a tumor the size of a grapefruit in her abdomen.
Surgeons were able to remove the growth but a blood clot formed during her recovery, killing her small bowel. Missy now needed a multivisceral transplant. Under the care of Dr. Vianna at Indiana University Health University Hospital she received a new small bowel, stomach, pancreas, duodenum and liver. She said, “I learned that some of the best care available was right in my own backyard. The transplant saved my life, and I remain extraordinarily grateful for the second chances I have had as a result.”
One year after her successful transplant, she married, Kyle, a fellow Eli Lilly and Company employee. Missy said, “We began dating just about the time I got sick. We said, “I do” on a beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on October 22, 2006 with family and friends at our side. My son, Ross, was part of the ceremony. It was definitely very 'fairy tale princess' for me.”
Missy says she has grown closer to her parents since her successful transplant, and has cherished the second chance to watch her son grow up. She states, “There are so many times when I catch myself staring at Ross and thinking I may not have gotten the chance to know him at this age. Life gets better every day!”
Sarah Baker’s Story: Diabetes/ Pancreas Transplant
Sarah Baker was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13, but continued to live an active life during her junior high and high school years. It wasn’t until she started her career as an occupational therapist that she really began to slow down due to complications including extreme fatigue, vision troubles, and unexplained “pins and needles” pain in her feet. Sarah described herself as a “brittle diabetic with a very physical job” whose rollercoaster blood sugar levels began to affect her work significantly, causing her to step down from several management-level career opportunities.
Her hope and health were spiraling downward until April 2008 when a physical therapist friend and fellow diabetic told Sarah that she didn’t have diabetes anymore, thanks to a pancreas transplant she received at Indiana University Health University Hospital. Her friend told Sarah she was able to get back to working full-time just four months after her transplant. “It was one of the most pivotal moments of my life…I couldn’t believe it,” said Sarah, a 37-year-old Fishers resident.
Without delay, Sarah called the IU Health Transplant center on her lunch hour and asked about the procedure and whether insurance would cover this. A few days later, she discovered that her current plan would not cover the transplant so she had to find another plan.
Although she planned to get on the list for a transplant, Sarah decided to hold off for a few reasons. For one, she was in the process of landing a new job with an insurance plan that would cover her transplant and, therefore, didn’t want to take off too much time too soon. She was also in the midst of planning her wedding that was only four months away.
However in August 2008, while on her honeymoon in Mexico, she almost died as a result of her uncontrollable Type 1 diabetes. Sarah’s husband, normally a deep sleeper, woke up in the middle of the night to find her lying beside him unconscious due to extremely low-blood sugar levels. Paramedics arrived and were able to revive her within a few hours, but they were both shaken up realizing that she could have lapsed into a coma and died during the happiest week of their life.
When Sarah got back to the states, getting a pancreas transplant became her number one focus as she took immediate steps to find a job with an insurance plan that covered transplants and to schedule a transplant with the IU Health Transplant center at IU Health University Hospital. Within a few months, she found a job offering full insurance coverage for a transplant and contacted the IU Health Transplant center to start moving full-speed ahead with the transplantation process.
“I thought I hit the lottery,” said Sarah. She got on the list two days before Christmas 2008 and seven weeks later on Monday, February 16, 2009 she received a 4 am call from the IU Health Transplant Center informing her that a pancreas was here. She got her new pancreas later that day.
Within a few months, she was back to work as a former diabetic with a new perspective on how she interacts with patients. “I already had an ability to easily bond with people and build a rapport, but now that I’ve gone through my transplant, it’s even easier to be compassionate about what people are going through. Now, I feel like I can be truly empathetic in regards to their struggles.”
She continues, “Of course, that doesn’t mean I let them off the hook, but the way I approach it and get them to participate feels different because I can draw from my own experience as a patient.”
Austin Miller’s Story: Liver/Kidney Transplant
Austin Miller is a teenager from a small town outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Austin had been an inpatient at Indiana University Health University Hospital since summer 2010, and was fortunate to receive a new liver and kidney on February 21, 2011.
While recovering as an inpatient at IU Health University Hospital, Austin celebrated his 19th birthday thanks to the life saving organ transplant he received. When the hosts of the national morning radio show K-Love learned of Austin’s story and how he always listened to K-Love, they wished Austin a happy birthday on the air. They also thanked the family who gave Austin the gift of life, and directed their national radio audience to go to the K-Love radio website to register and find out more information about organ donation.
The K-Love radio hosts also visited Austin at the IU Health University Hospital for a surprise birthday party in a conference room near his room. When Austin returned to his room, he found it decorated with balloons, streamers, signs, and a duck scene painted by the hospital unit staff. Austin was given a new Nerf gun as a birthday present in order to sit on the side of his bed and aim for the ducks since duck hunting is a favorite pastime. Austin and his family were extremely touched by the kindness and support the IU Health University Hospital nurses, doctors, and staff showed on Austin’s birthday and throughout his stay at IU Health University Hospital.