‘Last resort:’ A rare intestine transplant at UW Medical Center


26-year-old Pierce County woman received a rare intestine, liver and pancreas transplant at University of Washington Medical Center last month, the first for an adult in the Northwest.

Savana Oberts remembers sitting in an East Asian Studies class at Western Washington University in May 2011 when she felt a sudden, sharp pain deep in her abdomen.

Within hours, the 21-year-old from Lakebay, Pierce County, was in emergency surgery, fighting for her life. A kink in her small intestine, linked to an undetected birth defect, had cut off the blood supply to her right colon, which had to be immediately removed.

Almost overnight, she went from being a healthy, active young woman to a person whose only hope was a rare intestine, liver and pancreas transplant.

But Oberts would have to wait five years, until just last month, before doctors at the University of Washington finally found a suitable donor to complete the rarest type of organ transplant there is. She grew sicker and sicker, her skin yellowing from the effects of liver failure. Continue reading
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