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Newport Woman Forced to Undergo 2nd Liver Transplant

June 19, 1987|GORDON GRANT | Times Staff Writer

Barbara Jernigan, 50, of Newport Beach, whose friends raised thousands of dollars to help pay for a lifesaving liver transplant, underwent her second transplant early Thursday in a Pittsburgh hospital after the first one failed.

Jernigan, founder of the PMS Center of Orange County, was stricken with primary biliary cirrhosis, an incurable disease unrelated to alcohol. She has been unable to work for about two years, experiencing "unrelieved tiredness and an increasingly yellowish cast" of skin and eyes, said her friend Drew Renner of Newport Beach. Doctors said that without a transplant she would live less than a year. A month ago, an ad hoc group called "The Friends of Barbara" raised $40,000 at a party to help defray surgery's high cost.

Jernigan's daughter, Emilyann Schlosser of Los Angeles, said her mother underwent the first transplant at Pittsburgh's Presbyterian University Hospital on June 11, receiving the liver of a 16-year-old nun from Colorado, but that by Wednesday of this week it was obvious she was rejecting the organ. The second liver "was flown in from Texas late Wednesday, but that's all I know about it so far," Schlosser said.

The second operation took most of Wednesday night and part of Thursday morning. Schlosser said the "doctor could give me no guarantee that there won't be a second rejection."

Renner said small donations have been received since the fund-raising party of last month, mostly from friends of both Jernigan and her daughter.

"But we haven't gotten the bill from the first transplant, let alone the second one," he said. "Insurance will pay 75%, but the total cost is going to be very high, plus we are told that her medication will run $1,200 to $1,500 a month for the rest of her life."

Over the years, Schlosser said, Jernigan "just naturally gathered many friends--the kind of friends everybody needs." The PMS Center that she founded offers counseling and treatment for premenstrual stress.

She is divorced and lives with Katherine Logan in Newport Beach.

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