One woman’s experience as a living organ donor has inspired a new career path.
In 2008, Dr. Hillary Yaffe donated half of her liver to her dad, Alan Yaffe. Mr. Yaffe had been suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a chronic disease that would have cost him his life, if not for the transplant.
“Three words, ‘Let’s do it.’ That’s what she said,” Alan Yaffe told KCNC-TV, with tears in his eyes.
“This guy’s pretty fantastic,” his daughter said.
The surgery was successful, but it left Hillary, a young medical student at the time, with an even deeper longing to help others in need of life-saving transplants.
Recently, Dr. Yaffe, now married with twins, decided to move her family to Colorado to train to become an organ transplant surgeon. The best part: She gets to study under Drs. James Pomposelli and Elizabeth Pomfret — the husband and wife transplant team who operated on her and her father in Massachusetts nearly a decade ago.
During her two-year fellowship program at UCHealth University of Colorado Transplant Center in Aurora, Yaffe will train alongside her former doctors. According to KCNC, Pomposelli and Pomfret are “the two most experienced living donor transplant surgeons in the United States.”
“Dr. Pomfret’s training me to transplant and that means the world to me,” Dr. Yaffe said.
Dr. Pomfret, Chief of Transplant Surgery at UCHealth, noted the special advantage Yaffe will have as a living donor, as she will be able to provide the perspective of both a doctor and a patient.
“Very honored, very humbling,” Dr. Pomfret told KCNC.