Thrive by IU Health

Patient travels from New York for second liver transplant

IU Health University Hospital

Patient travels from New York for second liver transplant

When they began researching the top transplant programs in the nation, Jeffrey “Jeff” and Joan Labow decided IU Health was their best option.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

They came to Indianapolis six weeks prior to his transplant and Jeffrey “Jeff” and Joan Labow have decided there’s much to like about the Circle City. They enjoyed a shrimp cocktail at Harry & Izzy’s, and a hearty Italian dinner at Mama Carolla’s, took in a play at the IRT, and marveled at the murals in Fountain Square and along Mass Avenue. They walked the downtown canal, around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and even attended the Annual Oktoberfest.

“Indianapolis is a vibrant and cultural city – like a small New York,” said Jeff Labow. This endorsement comes from a couple who has traveled the world – the South of France, Bangkok, Rio, Italy, Germany, Spain, Alaska, and England – just to name a few of their trips. Joan Lebow is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines.

The couple met in college at the City University in New York and married 38 years ago. They’ve spent most of their lives in Westchester County where Jeff worked as a probation officer in adult crime. In addition to working as a flight attendant Joan is a registered nurse.

When it came time to begin researching transplant hospitals, they followed their doctor’s recommendations. With Joan’s nursing background, they took a deep dive into their surf and decided on IU Health.

“I just felt comfortable here,” said Jeff, about meeting with his transplant coordinator Cheri Richard and Gastroenterologist Dr. Marco Lacerda.

It was when he was in college that Labow was diagnosed with Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). The disease affects the bile ducts, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. PSC causes inflammation in the bile ducts, scars and blockage. Over time it builds up and damages the liver.

“My doctor back then told me it was deadly and I had five years to live at best and then a friend talked to me about transplant,” said Lebow. He had his first liver transplant in 1990 at the age of 40. “I had to get my state senator to see my case and I actually met Thomas Starzl,” said Lebow. Known as “the father of modern transplantation,” Starzl, was the first physician to attempt human liver transplant in 1963. His five decades of groundbreaking work set the course for most of the present day transplant surgeries.

After his first transplant, Labow was discharged in about a week and went back to life as usual. “It went well and I never looked back, but it wasn’t a great liver. There was some Ischemic damage,” said Labow. Ischemic hepatitis is typically caused when there is inadequate oxygen to the organ. In the years that followed Labow suffered constant itching from bile salt accumulation. He knew he would eventually need another transplant.

On October 10, under the care of Dr. Chandrashekhar Kubal, Labow received his second liver transplant. He remained hospitalized for several weeks and during his recovery took part in both yoga and music therapy at IU Health University Hospital.

The CompleteLife Program offers comprehensive therapies that attend to the body, mind and spirit of patients and caregivers. “It was amazing having these techniques to help in his recovery,” said Joan Labow. “He’s always been very much into music – especially jazz, blues, and rock. He hasn’t played guitar in awhile but it all came back to him in the hospital room.”

The Labows will remain in Indianapolis for several weeks and hope to do more exploring when Jeff gets stronger.

For how he says, he wants to focus on healing.

“It’s important to me to give back to others,” said Jeff. “I think the best way I can do that right now is fight to give other people hope. I think they can pick up on that vibe.”

Related Services

Transplant

If facing end-stage organ failure, a kidney, pancreas, liver, lung, intestine or heart transplant will help you embrace life again.

Liver Transplant

If you have a condition that causes your liver to no longer work properly, you may need a transplant which replaces your diseased liver with a healthy, donated liver from another person.

Latest Stories

Filter from

July 28, 2021 Philanthropy builds a support for moms in substance use crisis Substance use disorder (SUD) does not discriminate. People of all races, cultures and s... July 28, 2021 Christmas in July, dozens of cards, texts & prayers keep patient positive She’s a schoolteacher who lights up a room with her smile. She doesn’t want cancer to s... July 27, 2021 Let’s “produce” hope; Hoosiers have greater access to fresh food If you’d gather about 9,000 IU Health LifeLine helicopters or stack 14 Lucas Oil Stadiu... July 27, 2021 Doctor’s excellence in care recognized for quality improvement, patient safety Dr. Kelly Kasper, OB/GYN was recently recognized for her commitment to patient care and... July 27, 2021 Rural surgical fellowship could benefit the community and world Faced with a problem challenging their peers across the nation, leaders at Indiana Univ... July 26, 2021 IU Health funding secures job opportunities for Jay County high school seniors Five Jay County Jr./Sr. High School students spent their summer working as paid industr... July 26, 2021 Child Life Program speaks pediatric patients’ language When nine-year-old Joe Smith* was rushed to Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital a... July 26, 2021 Philanthropy helps Monroe County residents in crisis stride forward In a mental health or substance use crisis, there are limited options for people to get... July 23, 2021 A quicker treatment for prostate cancer Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer of men in the United States with aro... July 23, 2021 Totes, t-shirts, tapestries: This artist finds healing through her work IU Health CompleteLife is seeking entries for the Fourth Annual Art Show. This year’s t... July 22, 2021 Teresa the Trauma Outreach Coordinator Teresa Williams is someone that takes “using our heads'' to the next level. Not only is... July 22, 2021 Message is written on mini van: ‘My dad is in need of a kidney’ Steve Sheckles knows all too well about kidney disease – four of his five siblings have... July 21, 2021 Grandmother, ‘Mi-Mi,’ completes 60th treatment for colon cancer It wasn’t until Katherine “Katie” Dailey’s appendix burst that she found out she has ca... July 19, 2021 Little bugs pack a big bite: Understanding Lyme disease As families spend more time outside, we cannot forget about all the bugs outside that c... July 18, 2021 New palliative care chaplain: ‘I find deep meaning in what I do’ She didn’t just wake up one day and decide to become a chaplain. Jodi Powers’ life has ... July 15, 2021 This nurse is a ‘people person’ – from patient care to wedding planning On weekdays, she works in the basement of IU Health University Hospital. Weekends are s... July 12, 2021 When life is on the line: Crewmembers training for critical care Five LifeLine crewmembers are preparing to finish up a year of intense training. These ... July 08, 2021 Nurse, mother of three, started career cleaning hospital rooms She knows what it’s like to be versatile. Tamara Shropshire has worn several hats at IU... July 08, 2021 Small ball offers big relief for infusion patients It’s smaller than a tennis ball, but this “therapy” packs a powerful punch for infusion... July 07, 2021 IU Health urologist offers comprehensive care for male reproductive health Unlike women, men don’t typically see a doctor on a regular basis for their reproductiv... July 05, 2021 Get Back on Track With Preventive Care As people begin returning to activities impacted by the pandemic, it’s a good time to g... July 01, 2021 From Germany with Love -Patient meets her Husband as an Exchange Student In true fairy tale fashion, Anika MacDonald lives a love story that started some 20 yea... June 28, 2021 Throwing injuries common during sports As our attention is drawn again to the baseball and softball diamonds where the success... June 24, 2021 Growing through grief, one charm at a time “I wanted to make grief a little lighter for those who have lost a loved one,” explaine... June 24, 2021 Doctor’s Passion: Caring for LGBTQ+ Patients, Educating Health Care Community By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org When Dr. Hannah Lock... June 24, 2021 Q2 2021 Quarterly Report: Mosaic Center for Work, Life and Learning to provide job training and jobs for Hoosiers Crystal Hinson Miller, chief philanthropy officer for Indiana University Health and pre... June 23, 2021 The right care at the right time Surgical Trauma Nurse Jhoan “JoJo” Perez-Ordenana begins her shifts the same way. Befor... June 23, 2021 Beating the odds Ashley Miller doesn’t remember the wreck. It happened two days after high school gra... June 23, 2021 Rev gets back on track Get ready to start your engines! The IU Health Foundation signature event Rev, hosted a... June 23, 2021 Father Celebrates 50th Birthday by Receiving Five Transplanted Organs By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org In some ways, Philli... June 22, 2021 Accident victim grateful to be standing on his own two feet “I’m here for hope.” That’s what Vimal Patel told the team at IU Health Methodist Hos... June 21, 2021 Coordination is Key to Reducing Pancreatitis Patient Hospitalizations By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org On any given day, Kat... June 21, 2021 Boston Resident Welcomed by IU Health Transplant Team It was 2015 when a Medevac transported Benjamin “Ben” Ruback from his home state of Mas... June 20, 2021 After Five Decades, Esteemed Gastroenterologist Retires from IU Health By IU Health Senior Journalist, TJ Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org There’s a recurrent th... June 18, 2021 Nurse known for her calming effect on transplant patients After 40 years working with transplant patients, Susan Young is known for soothing word... June 16, 2021 With every transplant, nurse’s family grew a little bigger After a 40-year career, Kim Fox is retiring from Methodist, but she will carry her pati... June 15, 2021 Two months post transplant, patient runs Mini Marathon She told her nurses she would do it, and she did. Adrienne Du Rant completed a goal – t... June 13, 2021 Nurse among first to start transplant unit 40 years ago When IU Health started its transplant program 40 years ago, a group of nurses were trai... June 10, 2021 Poison center nurse answers the call – toddlers to adults in distress As a nurse in the Indiana Poison Center at IU Health Methodist Hospital, Brandy Thacker... June 08, 2021 Hospital chaplain: ‘Drums are my happy place. They are my sanity saver’ On any given day IU Health Methodist Hospital chaplain Paul Goodenough can be at the be... June 04, 2021 Mother of two, diagnosed with leukemia is ‘Aiken for a cure’ Chelsea Aiken is 31 and has undergone numerous procedures including two bone marrow tra... June 03, 2021 Riley nurse tests for kidney match for brother Riley Hospital Nurse Samantha “Sam” Schubert is passionate about kidney donation – so p... June 02, 2021 Her journey to IU Health spans more than 800 miles, 48 surgeries She traveled from her home in Louisiana to Indiana, where Dora Carroll said she met a t... June 02, 2021 Runner, kidney donor – Focused on kidney disease awareness His story is heroic. He once saved a woman from a burning car and later donated a kidne... May 28, 2021 Drawn by audacity and people: Dr. Kelvin Lee leads the Cancer Center Kelvin Lee, MD, believes there’s a pretty direct line from “that’s crazy” to hope. Dr.... May 27, 2021 Weathering the storm On Aug. 8, 2020, Nasrin Hepfer received a phone call she’ll never forget. “It was the p... May 26, 2021 IU Health team members win “The Lynda” for their compassionate care Five IU Health team members around the state have won the Lynda A. Merriman Award for C... May 26, 2021 IU Health COVID-19 Data IU Health is committed to being a trusted source of information for the public during t... May 25, 2021 They rescued her Pets; Patient Says they saved her Life too She was at a low point and ended up in ER. The only thing she had on her mind when she ... May 24, 2021 Couple with cancer makes gift to express their gratitude Not many people say the day they met their oncologist to hear about cancer treatment wa... May 24, 2021 Two perspectives, one sentiment: thanks The handwritten letter that came across the desk of IU Health President and CEO Dennis ... May 24, 2021 Joe Schwarz legacy and story on display at cancer center Sixteen months after the grand opening of the IU Health Joe and Shelly Schwarz Cancer C... May 23, 2021 Kidney donor, recipient meet for first time Two women, who live in the same community, met for the first time after one became a no... May 21, 2021 Child Life specialists save the day When the O’Hern family drives by IU Health Arnett Hospital, five-year old Mimi will wav... May 21, 2021 Fathers-sons make dynamic duos for IU Health facilities team They work as a team – often behind the scenes. Although they may not be in the spotligh... May 18, 2021 Pancreatic cancer patient: Music is part of his life He’s played piano since the age of three. So when Wesley Tedrow learned that music ther... May 17, 2021 'Able to do what I love': Teen dances again after hip surgery Zoe York, 17, suffered a hip injury that threatened to sideline her from doing the spor... May 17, 2021 North Split closure may impact travel to IU Health facilities in Indianapolis Travel in downtown Indianapolis will look different for the next 18 months because the ... May 11, 2021 Daughter’s gift to her mother: A gift of life When her mother needed a liver transplant, Jessica Goss only had one issue – was she a ... May 09, 2021 Son donated liver to his mom: ‘She’s always been there for me’ When Ruth Swanson’s liver began to fail, it was her son who became her living organ don... May 06, 2021 Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? 6 Things to Consider The COVID-19 vaccine is an important decision for many Hoosiers. You may have questions... May 04, 2021 IU Health chaplain says faith, informed by science, led him to get the vaccine As an African-American, Joe Colquitt understands the hesitancy some people feel about t... April 30, 2021 What does Wonder Woman do when she loses her sidekick? She starts a grief support group. Amanda Rardon, RN, is the clinical operations manager of trauma and emergency services ... April 29, 2021 Tonsil Cancer Removed by Robotic Procedure By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org She thought she had ... April 27, 2021 Intensive care nurse first IU Health patient to donate two organs She first donated a kidney then two years later Stephanie Kroot donated a portion of he... April 26, 2021 Breaking down barriers Imagine trying to secure your vaccine for a public health crisis but not being able bec... April 24, 2021 IU Health White Memorial adds VeinViewer IU Health White Memorial Hospital now has a second VeinViewer® Vision2 thanks to a $14,... April 23, 2021 Dedicated hospital employee quietly works behind the scenes He doesn’t wear a white coat, or scrubs, but this dedicated hospital worker often recei... April 22, 2021 Friends in need pay it forward. The Lunsfords and Rosemas have been friends for decades. They traveled together to Irel... April 22, 2021 Learning to live the values. Kevin Bockus’ call to chaplaincy came in the form of a siren. One Sunday morning, Kevi... April 21, 2021 The path to improved health. When Jennifer King started as an occupational therapy assistant at IU Health Frankfort ... April 21, 2021 Starting at birth: addressing racial inequity in healthcare through Cradle Indianapolis. According to the Indiana Department of Health, Indiana’s average infant mortality rate ... April 21, 2021 Vaccinating others helps heal the trauma of the past year for this nurse Erika Breivogel on administering her first COVID shot: “I had the biggest smile under m... April 20, 2021 Video: Neurosurgeon brings minimally invasive approach to treating seizures Dylan Pierce was 25 years old when he started having focal seizures with impaired aware... April 20, 2021 Video: New treatment gives hope, time to patients with glioblastoma Chris Bachmann is a patient battling an aggressive and cancerous brain tumor known as g... April 19, 2021 Congregations connect with patients for ongoing care Through collaboration with IU Health and faith-based communities, a Congregation Care N... April 14, 2021 Diabetes prevention program helped patient break the cycle She tried and she tried but she couldn’t seem to get in shape. When Cheryl Peglow learn... April 13, 2021 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine paused - Your questions answered Update - Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause ends On April 23, the Centers for Disease Con... April 13, 2021 COVID delayed mammograms: doctors say, ‘Get back on track’ Many things were put on hold when pandemic turned to panic. Now, doctors remind patient... April 12, 2021 Clinical medicine and research makes this transplant patient among the first IU Health has a long history as one of the top transplant programs in the country. Now,... April 11, 2021 Addiction Treatment When It’s Needed Most: Emergency medicine physician leads life-saving program at IU Health West Hospital For individuals with opioid addiction and at risk of repeat overdoses, IU Health West H... April 07, 2021 Husband donates kidney to wife: ‘This is a highlight. It’s worth it’ April is National Donate Life Month and today is Living Donor Day – a time to celebrate... April 07, 2021 On a terrible day, Center gives victims hope Nicole Perkins meets people on the worst days of their lives. As a forensic nurse exami... April 07, 2021 Philanthropy could help fund more Centers of Hope Providing emergency services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child ab... April 07, 2021 10 Myths about Sexual Assault April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. To help Hoosiers learn more abo... April 06, 2021 A true giver at heart Saving lives—that’s the main concern for the IU Health Bloomington Hospital Emergency... April 05, 2021 Doctor flies for a cause that has paws His career is in medicine, but this doctor extends his caring spirit outside the hospit... April 04, 2021 Sepsis invaded nurse’s body, but not her determination It started with a persistent cough. In no time at all, Alixandra “Alix” Gerringer was a... April 02, 2021 Fighting as a community In just over 100 days, the IU Health South Central Region has given out over 60,000 COV... April 01, 2021 A success story thanks to support from the team Katelyn Cole believes her success is from the team that supported her. “My life was r... March 31, 2021 Q1 2021 Quarterly Report: The year that changed the way we give. Crystal Hinson Miller, chief philanthropy officer for Indiana University Health and pre... March 31, 2021 The next new shot: Help for patients diagnosed with HIV For years, people diagnosed with HIV have taken a steady regiment of oral medication. N... March 29, 2021 Never Too Young - Here’s how this 22-year-old is Fighting Stage 4 Colon Cancer By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org She’s 22. She was 21... March 29, 2021 Program brings smiles to kids’ faces one bear at a time Patricia Harris, clinical operations manager for IU Health Tipton Hospital’s Surgical S... March 28, 2021 Rare Disease Treated at IU Health; Can Take Years to Diagnose By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org At first, there were ... March 24, 2021 Diagnosis: Hodgkin’s lymphoma - She spent her birthday in the hospital At first she thought she had allergies, and then Christine Kirk heard the word, “cancer... March 22, 2021 Patient moved to Indy for treatment of multiple myeloma By the time she got her diagnosis and became a patient of IU Health, Irene Johnson was ... March 21, 2021 Memorial & meditation: Doctor says ‘It is from the intensity of the loss we felt’ Deep sadness, feelings of helplessness, and overwhelming anxiety of what’s to come - me... March 18, 2021 Social worker, nurse – Dynamic duo in critical care They are a team, and when it comes to caring for the sickest patients, these two go abo... March 18, 2021 Grant expands IU Health virtual behavioral health services to rural counties A highly regarded IU Health virtual behavioral health program has received $1.2 million...