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School of Medicine
Dan Lineberger, Liver and Kidney Transplant Recipient
Within five weeks, Dan Lineberger went from being to completely healthy to being told he had one week left to live. A drug toxicity from a dietary supplement caused fulminant hepatic (liver) failure, which lead to fulminant renal (kidney) failure. When his health began to deteriorate, Dan was spending Thanksgiving with family in Maryland. He was taken to Johns Hopkins where he met with a hepatologist and, eventually, the transplant team.
“I was scared, confused, quite irritable at times, but only in relation to the sheer torture of the effects of the liver and kidney failure,” Dan says. “I probably remained in denial until the night I got a call in my hospital room telling me they had a donor…I was glad to have a chance to live, but upset another young person had to pass away and her family changed forever.”
Within roughly five weeks I literally went from being 100% healthy and never having been to a hospital to being told I had a week to live.
-Dan, on learning he needed a transplant
While Dan was in the hospital, his family would come visit him, which boosted his morale more than anything else. A cell phone and laptop were important, enabling him to stay in contact with the outside world and his friends who lived several states away.
During the transplant process, Dan relied on the transplant coordinators, nurses and social worker. He suggests asking many questions and gathering as much data as possible to be more informed and understanding of what will happen. The social worker was helpful with things like disability, social security / medicare and COBRA paperwork.
While Dan recovers, he is actively taking college courses and hopes one day to be able to work in a medical-related field.
Since Dan’s experience, the dietary supplement that caused his liver and kidney failure has been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration. While he acknowledges that he is not quite at the level of health he was before the experience, Dan says, “Although I still have many limitations, I try to live every day as normal as I can. Mainly I am grateful to be alive and I owe both Hopkins and my donor's family a great debt of gratitude."
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