VA Pittsburgh becomes first VA medical center in nation to perform donor transplant

VA Pittsburgh becomes first VA medical center in nation to perform donor transplant

PITTSBURGH — The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have partnered to perform the VA’s first living-donor liver transplant.

It’s historic, and officials say they now truly have the ability to make a difference.

Timothy Yablonski’s family says it’s an absolute miracle he is alive today.

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Thanks to his daughter Alyssa, he got a second chance at life.

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Yablonski received a portion of liver from his daughter when he underwent surgery back on March 16.

At age 49, the military veteran was diagnosed with nonalcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

Initially, he wasn’t sure where to turn or how much longer he could wait.

Then everything seamlessly came together, through prayer, love from his family, and the support of the doctors here in Pittsburgh.

The VA Pittsburgh is the only VA medical center in the nation that now accepts living-donor liver transplants.

It’s the first time any VA in the nation has participated in a living-donor transplant.

“This is really special in the sense that it has allowed us to partner with our VA colleagues and really offer this life-saving procedure to a segment of the population that wasn’t having this available,” said Dr. Abhi Humar, chief of transplantation at UPMC.

“God see me through. Got me here. Right in time. She literally saved my life. And I’m just so thankful to be here,” Yablonski said.

The donor and recipient are both doing very well and will be spending some additional time here in Pittsburgh. The procedure actually happened right when COVID-19 hit.

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