Dallas Man With Rare Liver Disease Finds Donor

Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013  |  Updated 9:40 AM CDT
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Dallas Man Hopes for Direct Liver Donation

NBC 5 News

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A Dallas man, who was in desperate need of a liver transplant, found an organ donor on Monday.

Ben Chatraw, 36, was diagnosed with the rare and chronic liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, seven years ago. In July 2013, his health began a rapid decline marked by repeated and potentially fatal blood infections known as sepsis.

The only known treatment for PSC is liver transplantation, but in the United States, livers are distributed based on a scoring system designed to predict imminent liver failure.

Due to his blood infections, Chatraw was unable to get an organ dononation by traditional means and needed a designated donor.

The family started the website where they pleaded for people to consider designated organ donation. The process allows the family of a deceased person to give an organ to a specified patient, regardless of their position on the transplant list.

Thanks to the family's outreach efforts, a designated donor was found on Monday.

The transplant happened at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., early Tuesday morning. The hospital was one of three where Chatraw was placed on a waiting list.

"We got a call early Monday morning about a designated liver from NC,” his wife, Stephanie Chatraw, said in an email. “It has been a long day and I'm so very happy to be able to let you know that Ben just went up for surgery. Please pray for Ben, for the medical team here, for this surgery.”

Chatraw went into surgery at 1 a.m. Tuesday and, several hours later, doctors determined the transplant was a success.

The family says the next two days are critical as his body adjusts to a new liver.

NBC 5's Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.

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