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Spouse can donate part of her liver to husband

It’s official — a Red Deer couple will be sharing a liver.

Surgeons have determined that Ethel Lariviere can donate a portion of her liver to her husband Randy on July 7 at the University of Alberta Hospital.

It was to be the 11th live liver transplant at the hospital so far this year, but one was cancelled, so this will be the 10th. Last year, there were 13 transplants.

“I’m really excited. I’m not scared at all. Right now, I’ve never felt so clear,” said Ethel Lariviere, 47, on Friday.

“It’s been a long time waiting.”

Her husband has been on the transplant list for over four years, during which time he has almost died three times.

Ethel, a BMO commercial account manager, started compatibility testing in April.

She said the only thing that can stop her from being a donor is if a compatible liver from a deceased person became available for her husband, which would be used instead of hers.

Randy, 55, was infected with hepatitis C about 20 years ago during a kidney operation.

He did not find out he had the disease until 2005, when he suffered a major gastrointestinal bleed.

He will still require hepatitis C drug treatment following the transplant to rid his body of the disease.

The couple is waiting to find out if a pharmaceutical company through the University of Alberta’s Hepatitis Support Program will help cover the drug costs.

Their insurance only covers 80 per cent of the costs, leaving about $21,000 they can’t afford to pay.

She said ideally it’s better to have treatment prior to transplant, but some patients do get the treatment afterwards.

“We’ve got an opportunity now. We just need to take it,” Ethel said.

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