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Risks, rewards of transplants at USC

January 06, 2007

Re "Transplant deaths at USC a puzzle," Dec. 29

Why haven't we read that liver transplantation is one of the great achievements of modern medicine and the only curative option for patients with end-stage liver disease? That these are the sickest patients ever to undergo surgery, and that most donor organs are nowhere near perfect? That more patients' lives are saved by liver transplantation in Southern California than in any other region in the country?

Although all healthcare institutions should be held to the highest standards, we must recognize that liver transplantation is the last and only resort to save dying patients with liver disease. The procedure is so complex that only a rare breed of immensely qualified healthcare professionals take it on. We should neither discredit their work nor injure faith in the procedure or the willingness of people to donate organs and give the gift of life.

RONALD W. BUSUTTIL MD

Los Angeles

The writer is chief of the Division of Liver and Pancreas Transplant at the UCLA School of Medicine.

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I was the first to receive a liver transplant at USC in 1996. The care I received, and still receive, has been excellent. Dr. Rick Selby and his team have always been there for me. I hope that all can be resolved and that USC will continue to give life to very sick people such as myself.

BENIGNA R. CARRILLO

South Pasadena

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How can The Times suggest that the USC liver transplant program is justified with such a high death rate? The program needs to be shut down.

TOM THOMPSON

Corona del Mar

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