Within the world of organ
transplantation, a few surgeons have become masters.
Some have the ability to
remove not one or two but
multiple diseased organs and
transplant healthy donor organs, resulting in an amazing
new lease on life. My husband, David Sandlin, was the
recipient of a multivisceral
organ transplant (MVOT) on
August 7, 2013.
I interviewed David with the intent
to provide information related to organ
transplantation, understand some dental
implications related to transplantation,
and offer hope to our patients awaiting
Karen: David, what circumstances led
you to need transplantation of your liver,
stomach, pancreas, and intestines?
David: On July 16, 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic
cancer called islet cell neuroendocrine
cancer, and it had metastasized to my
liver. This is a slower-growing version of
cancer than most aggressive pancreatic
cancers, but my liver was inoperable due
to “too many to count” tumors scattered
throughout the liver tissue.
Interestingly, this is the same version
of cancer Steve Jobs of Apple Computers
died from in 2011. The primary tumor
in the tail of my pancreas was surgically
removed in 2008, and then in 2009 and
again in 2011 I underwent targeted radio-
active therapy to the liver that was deliv-
ered through microscopic beads injected
via the portal vein.
By July 2012 scans revealed that tu-
mors on the tail of the pancreas had re-
curred and liver tumors were growing
again. My oncologist, who is an expert in
treating various versions of neuroendo-
crine cancer, recommended I be evalu-
ated for a multivisceral organ transplant
to remove cancerous, diseased organs and
“start over” with cancer-free organs.
That sounded completely radical to
B Y KAREN DAVIS, RDH, BSDH
AN INTERVIEW WITH A MULTI-ORGAN
Karen Davis with David Sandlin five months after the transplants.