Loyola Liver Transplant Patient Thanks Donor Family | Loyola Medicine
Monday, November 21, 2016

Loyola Liver Transplant Patient Thanks Family of Chicago Policeman for His Second Chance at Life

George Carr

MAYWOOD, IL – A Chicago policeman's fatal motorcycle accident became the gift of life for Loyola Medicine liver transplant patient George Carr. 

"Thanks to Jonathan Ho and the unimaginable generosity of his family, I now have a life," said Mr. Carr, 57, of Brookfield, Illinois. "I feel 20 years younger and, after two decades of struggling, like I am finally out of the dark clouds."

When Mr. Carr learned he was going to be a father 23 years ago, he also found out something else very surprising—he had hepatitis C.

"I applied for a life insurance policy to care for my wife and our growing family and had to complete certain medical tests as part of the process," Mr. Carr said. "I was shocked when the tests revealed I had Hep C."

Mr. Carr, a computer security specialist, has taken great care of his health and participated in many Hep C treatments, but none were successful until 2014. Under the care of Loyola Medicine's hepatology team, he began taking a new drug and found the cure he had sought for two decades.

"The good news was that I had finally beaten Hep C, but the bad news was that it came too late. My liver was severely damaged after years of the disease and a cancerous tumor was discovered," he said. "I needed a liver and Loyola put me on the wait list." He and his wife attended Loyola's transplant education program, held in conjunction with Gift of Hope, to learn more about the process. "Other patients who had received organs spoke to us during the program and that really gave us hope," he said.  

Three months later, he received a call that changed his life. Mr. Ho, a Chicago policeman and organ donor, died in a motorcycle accident and Mr. Carr would receive his liver. 

Ramesh Batra, MD, performed Mr. Carr's transplant surgery. "I had just joined Loyola that month and Mr. Carr was my first liver transplant patient," he said. "I am happy to play a small role in his success story. The credit goes to the selfless donation of the Ho family. They are the true heroes."

Mr. Carr said he noticed an improvement in his health immediately after waking up from surgery. "I remember being able to think clearly for the first time in a long time. Memories, emotions, everything was suddenly right there. It has been a rush ever since," he said.  

"I have been more than thrilled with Loyola," he said. "My physicians, nurses and entire medical staff are absolutely the ones you want when you have a serious, life threatening condition like I had.

Loyola Medicine offers the highest level of multidisciplinary, integrated care for liver disease and failure patients who may be considering a liver transplant. Loyola takes on the most challenging cases, some of which were turned away by other centers. As an academic medical center, Loyola doctors perform and teach the latest surgical techniques and medical practices.

In a meeting arranged this fall by Gift of Hope, Mr. Carr thanked the Ho family in person for their generosity in the face of such tragedy. He asked of them one simple request—to sign a plush liver given to him by his transplant team. 

"Now it truly documents everyone who helped in my healing," he said. "Without Jonathan Ho, I wouldn't be alive today. I cannot have a bad day in my life because, thanks to him, I am here." 

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.