Patient stories

  1. Beki Rose and family

    Rare heart-liver transplant gives South Carolina woman a second chance at life

    Beki Rose and her husband, Tom, had met with half a dozen doctors, and they all said the same thing. "They told me to go home and get my things in order," says Beki, a 51-year-old mother of three with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. The congenital condition had so damaged Beki's heart and liver that [...]

  2. An upbeat attitude and a brisk tempo keep this musician playing

    Wain McFarlane knows how to work a problem. When hypertension caused Wain's kidneys to fail in 2006, he built dialysis into his busy schedule. And when, just months after receiving a kidney from his 26-year-old niece, Wain was diagnosed with liver cancer, he knew he and his Mayo Clinic team would deal with it, quickly. [...]

  3. Surprise amyloidosis diagnosis leads to combined heart-liver transplant

    At the end of a routine physical in 2006, Dan Carey’s doctor asked if there was anything else he wanted to discuss. Dan exercised regularly and felt good. Except for one thing. “I get out of breath when I walk up stairs,” he told his doctor. A chest X-ray revealed healthy lungs but an enlarged [...]

  4. New technology makes heart transplant possible

    When 53-year-old JoAnn Forster of Eau Claire, Wis., had a heart attack, she was at first only aware of not feeling well. "I started perspiring and couldn't breathe," says JoAnn of her symptoms. By nightfall she was hospitalized and her doctors soon determined that JoAnn needed an additional level of care. They had her transferred [...]

  5. Marathoner and Ironman Michael Koetting Back in the Race After Donating Kidney

      As an endurance athlete who has completed six Ironman triathlons and more than two dozen marathons, Michael Koetting does not fear physical challenges. So when he learned he could use his good health to help a stranger in need, he never hesitated.  In December 2014, Michael, 47, of Orono, Minnesota, donated one of his [...]

  6. After successful kidney transplant, retiree is 'Living the Dream'

    As Bill Pearse was rushed to the hospital in severe pain, he directed the ambulance to take him to Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The emergency department team diagnosed Pearse with kidney stones — a relief. But additional tests revealed something far worse: a cancerous tumor on one kidney. Mayo Clinic physicians "were very persistent in [...]

  7. Heidi Ash

    Mayo Clinic's 185th Heart Transplant Patient and her "Chocolat"

    I wish I knew more ways to say, “Thank you”. I was given not just a second chance at life, but also a life with possibilities never imagined. Being born with congenital heart defects, my first open-heart surgery was performed when I was five-days-old. Six more heart surgeries followed before being tremendously fortunate to have [...]

  8. Liver transplant a rebirth for Wachira Loth

    Wachira Loth says his caregivers, colleagues and community helped him through the difficult days before his liver transplant in 1998. There was a time when Wachira Loth, an interpreter and licensed practical nurse for the Minnesota Department of Health, was afraid to look in the mirror. "I was scared of myself," he says of the [...]

  9. Dan Olson

    A heart transplant put him back in the race

    As a marathon runner and long-distance cyclist, Dan Olson thought his athletic lifestyle ensured a healthy body. But in 2002, at age 38, Dan was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle. "I couldn't believe it," he says. "I kept thinking, 'I'm in good shape. It can't really be that [...]

  10. Mother Gives Daughter the Gift of Life … Twice

    At 27 weeks into her pregnancy with twins, Amber Sylvester went to Mayo Clinic with her husband, Mike, for an ultrasound test and received news that no parent wants to hear. One of the babies was in trouble. She had enlarged kidneys, no amniotic fluid around her body, and fluid in her abdomen. She would [...]

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