A Transplant for Katy

A new book by award-winning medical journalist Luis Fabregas

Katy Miller hugs Dr. Thomas Starzl during his 80th birthday party at the University of Pittsburgh in March 2006.

In the summer of 2005, the pioneer surgeon known as the father of transplantation thought he’d finally found a way to the field’s Holy Grail – transplanting an organ without subjecting the patient to potentially deadly anti-rejection drugs.

To test the promising new protocol, Dr. Thomas Starzl and his team needed ten patients. Katy Miller would be the first. Smart, beautiful and sick with an illness guaranteed to destroy her liver, Katy agreed to a transplant using part of her sister’s liver.

But Starzl’s long-standing dream backfired. Katy’s surgery, performed by transplant chief Dr. Amadeo Marcos, was a failure. Its collapse prompted a dramatic feud between the aging Starzl and the ambitious Marcos. Administrators at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center banned Starzl from setting foot at the hospital where he once ruled the operating rooms. But the iconic surgeon forged ahead and embarked on a study that found higher than expected complications in live-donor liver transplants.

A Transplant for Katy depicts the dramatic efforts to save a star patient – and the reputation of the world’s leading transplant center, where patients from as far as Egypt and Libya came in search of a miracle.

A Transplant for Katy is the heartbreaking saga of a former homecoming queen who never realized she was expected to revolutionize medicine.

10% of the author’s royalties will be contributed to the Katy Miller Memorial Fund, which helps families with transplant-related expenses such as food and lodging.

Buy the Book
Now available here and the Co-op Store in Indiana, Pa., the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley and selected Giant Eagle stores in western Pennsylvania

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Kindle Version