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Utah Man Doing Well After Historic Transplant

Andrea Smardon

A Utah man is doing well after surgeons at Intermountain Medical Center performed the first combined heart-liver transplant in an adult patient in the Intermountain West. 

Dressed up in a shirt and tie, you would never know 31-year-old Michael Mader is a transplant patient.  The surgery was completed on April 23rd. Mader, who has suffered from 18 heart attacks, says he could feel the difference right away.

“I feel better than I did at 22, when I had my first heart attack,” Mader says. “So it’s been a night and day difference.”

Mader suffers from a genetic disorder that causes abnormally high cholesterol levels and heart disease. His mother Susan Mader Nab says several doctors had previously told her that her son needed to prepare for death.  Then, after 2 years on a donor wait list, a young man provided the organs that Mader needed. 

“For someone to lose a son, and then save my son, it’s hard to describe how grateful we are,” Nab says through tears. “I would encourage everyone to be an organ donor. Michael is a fantastic person, and he will have a fantastic life, and make that gift worthwhile.”

John Doty, cardiac surgeon at Intermountain Medical Center, put the heart in Mader’s chest. 

“It’s the ultimate alignment of stars,” Doty says. “We had to have a wonderful family, and the perfect patient to donate with perfect organs to get this kind of outcome.”

Doty says Intermountain’s apparent success has raised the staff’s confidence to perform more surgeries like this. He says there is currently one patient at the Medical Center who is also waiting for a double heart-liver transplant.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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