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Saving Lives Across North Texas

October 31, 2016

If you ask Frances Bussey how she feels today, the response from the 67-year-old Longview, Texas resident might surprise you. Before receiving an organ transplant through The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas last fall, a healthy outlook for her future was unlikely. Today, Bussey says she feels decades younger than her actual age. She is also able fulfill her life as a wife, mother and grandmother.

A Life-Changing Diagnosis

In her late 30s, Bussey received a diagnosis of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, or PBC, a chronic disease that slowly destroys bile ducts within the liver. The disease also creates scar tissue that directly affects the liver’s ability to function properly. By 2013, the cirrhosis had taken over Bussey’s digestive system. This left her unable to function without 24-hour care or to even leave her home. At the time, only a few options for treatment were offered. Bussey’s East Texas doctors referred her to The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

In Dallas, Dr. Parvez Mantry, Hepatologist and Director of Research and the Hepatobiliary Tumor Program for The Liver Institute, extensively evaluated Bussey’s condition. At this visit, Bussey learned from Dr. Mantry that she would not get better without a transplant. However, her condition was not currently severe enough to qualify for a transplant. This meant she would certainly get worse before having a chance to improve.

Convenient and Compassionate Care

Bussey began visiting Dr. Mantry on a regular basis in both Dallas and at his clinic in Tyler, Texas. “We are the only liver transplant program with a substantive and regular presence in the East Texas area,” Dr. Mantry states. “We provide an expert level of service at these patients’ doorstep without them having to drive hours to Dallas, for which they are very grateful.”

Throughout 2014, while under the care of Dr. Mantry, Bussey did find some relief. Sadly, it would not be for long. In 2015, she was admitted to Methodist Dallas three times for complications caused by her cirrhosis. “Once I was told I only had ten percent of my liver left,” Bussey says.

A Blessing in Disguise

On September 8th, 2015, Bussey got up in the middle of the night to use the restroom when her slipper caused her to fall and break her hip. It was this unrelated accident that allowed her to be placed on the liver transplant list. After being taken to the local hospital for initial care, Bussey’s husband drove her to Methodist Dallas.

“Bringing Frances to Methodist for a higher level of care when she had the fracture allowed us to see her liver was sick enough for a transplant,” Dr. Mantry says. “We optimized her medical condition to better receive a new liver when one would be available. Fortunately, our strategy worked.”

Only nine days after her accident, Bussey’s new liver arrived. Stephen S. Cheng, MD, FACS, Transplant Surgeon and Medical Director of Transplant Informatics for The Liver Institute performed her surgery.

Renewed – Life After Transplant

“I love The Liver Institute,” Bussey says. “I love the people; I love the nurses; I love the doctors. I told everybody that I trust that these doctors are going to do the best for me, and they did.”

Bussey returned home to Longview permanently after 51 days of hospital stays and rehabilitation. She still visits Dr. Mantry monthly for checkups at the nearby Tyler clinic. The retired physical therapy office manager says she hasn’t felt this good in years. “I can’t believe how many things corrected in my body – my stomach, my coordination, my mental and emotional strength – and the itching all over my body disappeared,” Bussey says.

She credits the entire team of physicians and surgeons at The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas for giving her renewed energy and life. “I told Dr. Mantry and Dr. Cheng, ‘I want you to know the best thing that ever happened to me was when my doctor sent me to The Liver Institute.’”