the-transplants

It is now  possible for trans women to give birth to babies

The newspapers stick to referring to transgender women as “men”, I am afraid, but the news is interesting all the same.

Dr Richard Paulson, outgoing president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that transgender women could give birth to their own babies due to recent development in womb transplants.

“You could do it tomorrow,” he said. “There would be additional challenges, but I don’t see any obvious problem that would preclude it … I personally suspect there are going to be trans women who are going to want to have a uterus and will likely get the transplant.”

Transplanting a womb is a complicated, lengthy procedure and only a small number of women have undergone the procedure so far. But it has been done, successfully. Since 2014 at least five babies have been born to women who had received wombs in a series of operations in Sweden.

Births among transgender men are not uncommon.

The Independent

The Telegraph

Photo: Ingram

I feel a little relieved.

No, there hasn’t been a human ‘head transplant’, and there may never be

In February 2015, Sergio Canavero appeared in this very publication claiming a live human head will be successfully transplanted onto a donor human body within two years. He’s popped up in the media a lot since then, but two years and nine months later, how are things looking?

Well, he’s only gone and done it! As we can see in this Telegraph story from today, the world’s first human head transplant has been successfully carried out. Guess all those more timid neurobods who said it couldn’t be done (myself included) are feeling pretty foolish right now, eh?

Well, not quite. Because if you look past the triumphant and shocking headlines, the truth of the matter becomes very clear, very quickly. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not know Dr Sergio Canavero, he’s done nothing to me directly that I’m aware of. However, I’m now seriously doubting his motivations. I’ve discussed my reasons for this elsewhere before now, but here they are again in one place for ease of reading.

A Miracle of Love

For about 4 weeks, I rotated through the cardiac care unit (CCU) during my intern year of residency.  Many would argue that the sickest patients in the hospital resided within the CCU. I came into the rotation hoping to perform several invasive procedures to further my skills as a young doctor. Patients could end up spending months in the hospital waiting for a new heart. While waiting, they were subjected to a litany of labs tests and interviews just to have the opportunity to be placed on the transplant list. Amidst the white walled hallways and vasoactive drips was a small woman in Room 503. Ms. S we will call her. Ms. S had been a resident of the CCU for about 3 months. She was a small, middle-aged woman with a heart that was growing weaker and weaker each day. Several days into my rotation, a heart became available for Ms. S. The entire CCU was a buzz with the news of a fresh heart awaiting transplant. It is rare in the emergency department when I am able to actually give good news to a patient. But I will never forget the look of Ms. S when she was informed by my supervising doctor that a new heart, one of the correct size and correct immune profile to provide the lowest chance of rejection, was available for her. The look expressed almost a bewilderment coupled with insurmountable joy.

While we were preparing for the upcoming surgery, the only request Ms. S had was for an in-hospital wedding to her longtime boyfriend. Faced with probably the most important surgery of her life, the patient’s mind was on something she waited her whole life for and if something were to go wrong with the surgery, she wanted to be united with the love of her life. And that union was not only with her boyfriend but also with her God facilitated by our hospital chaplain. Over the next week, my time in the hospital was consumed by caring for sick cardiac patients and planning a wedding. Paper flowers and EKG streamers strewed all over our call room. One day prior to the scheduled surgery, the patient was transported down to the hospital chapel. She was taken by wheelchair with her intra-aortic balloon pump, covered in colorful fabrics, towed behind her. The CCU staff sat on one side of the aisle while the patient’s family sat on the other side. The patient’s loud pump was briefly turned off during the ceremony. Afterwards, the staff and family held a reception in a room nearby with cake and refreshments.

During my medical school education, we were required to spend a day shadowing a hospital chaplain. The chaplain could be of any faith and my experience was with a Catholic priest. For those reading this who have never worked with a hospital chaplain, I highly recommend the experience. I can’t promise it will be a positive experience but it will certainly be memorable. I was under a misconception that a chaplain’s function was to comfort families when a patient was close to dying. Most patients we visited were not dying but were in the hospital for an “extended” stay. Religion was an important part of their life outside the hospital and they had few outlets of expressing their faith now that they were confined to a hospital bed. The priest would read the “Sacrament of the Sick” and say a healing prayer to comfort the patient and the family. I bowed my head during the prayer and gave the family space as they cried in the arms of the chaplain. My most memorable experience took place in the room of a newborn child. The child was too sick to go home and the family requested an impromptu baptism. I, personally, had never been a part of a hospital baptism. I was elected videographer for the event and was excited at the thought of new life in the hospital vs the death and dying I expected when the day began.

In the hospital at which I work, each cardiac arrest that is called overhead will automatically send a page to several other services. One service I always see respond is the chaplain service.  This service is invaluable when it comes to consoling family after a loved one has passed away. No matter which denomination they are called for they are always willing to bring together family when they encounter an unexpected situation in the hospital. As doctors, we encounter bad outcomes on a regular basis and are expected to pick ourselves up and return to work as if nothing happened. We set aside time to inform the family of what has happened but the chaplain is able to offer more comfort by just “being there.”

As a whole, doctors are not viewed as an overtly religious species. We are viewed as pragmatic, calculating and data-driven. But medicine and religion are not mutually exclusive. When those who tell stories of witnessed miracles often cite a hospital setting. A sick family member who is close to death and has exhausted all of medicine’s resources. Then, with family’s prayers and faith, the patient will make a recovery. Some will say they have experienced a miracle, something intangible and not explained by objective data. I have seen many sick patients pass through my hospital, though it may seem like a small amount compared to a more experienced doctor. I’m not sure what my definition of a miracle would be but I think all those who have experienced a miracle would agree that you know when you are in the presence of one. Looking back at this experience, a hospital wedding prior to a heart transplant surgery, I may never have this experience again. I can now say I have experienced a miracle, a miracle of love in our hospital.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

-Lao Tzu

me:  why do I care what my body looks like?  I dont have to look perfect.  no one cares other than me.  everyone will love me anyway!  I should have a donut for breakfast!!
also me:  damn I’m a fat failure.  a donut?  for breakfast?  ever?  girl, you’re disgusting.  look at yourself.  you have THIGHS.  How DARE YOU!?!  Ew.

Last night was Hockey FIghts Cancer night for the Dallas Stars. 

I made a sign for my sister who passed away from a bone marrow transplant necessitated by leukemia. 

A sweet young superfan named Chloe (who I’ve gotten to know through our mutual love of the Stars) beat cancer twice before most kids have even started school, and she had a sign as well. 

Both signs were on the pregame broadcast. 

But even cooler, Spezza stared hard at Chloe during his warmup stretches. He came over and tossed a puck to her. Spezza NEVER tosses pucks. That was pretty special. 

Seguin skated over to me, looked me in the eyes, looked sadly at my sister and then tossed a puck carefully to me. It made me cry. And then Johns, as he was leaving the ice, skated straight towards me, tapped his heart with his fist and then pointed at my sister’s picture. 

Hockey players, y’all. They’re the best. 

The Man Without A Heart

Doctors from the Texas Heart Institute have successfully replaced a patient’s heart with a device that keeps the blood flowing, thereby allowing him to live without a detectable heartbeat or even a pulse. 

The turbine-like device, that are simple whirling rotors, developed by the doctors does not beat like a heart, rather provides a ‘continuous flow’ like a garden hose. 

Craig Lewis was a 55-year-old, dying from amyloidosis, which causes a build-up of abnormal proteins. The proteins clog the organs so much that they stop working. When doctors put a stethoscope to his chest, no heartbeat or pulse can be heard (only a ‘humming’ sound).

anonymous asked:

Hi. I have a serial killer who strangles victims. He also cuts out victim's organs, purely for financial gain. I have two questions. How would they cut and be clearly not medically skilled? Also how long after death are different organs available for transplant and how would one store them without special equipment, and with special equipment? Much appreciated. Thanks. PS - I'm preparing a Criminal Minds fanfic for NaNo. :)

Hey there nonny. 

Here’s the thing about organ harvesting: first, it’s best done while the person has a heartbeat. Second, it REQUIRES solid skills to make happen. 

In terms of knife skills, there are all kinds of things that mark an amateur, mostly poor scalpel technique. Cuts that took two or three attempts to get to the depth required, for example, or that aren’t straight, or that they had to make repeated incisions for length (to give themselves room to work under the skin). There are lots of layyers to cut through to make an incision: skin, fat, muscle, often in layers and multiple directions. So there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes. 

In terms of the harvesting, nicking the organ is a big no-no. I’m sure there are details that are well above my level of understanding, but basically you want to leave connections in place – you want to make sure there’s enough blood vessel, for example, to suture it in place in the recipient. 

As for timing: This chart is from [the University of Michigan Transplant Web Site]: 

So as you can see, hearts have the shortest half-life and go bad in about 3 hours; lungs in 5, and kidneys take about 20 hours to pass their sell-by. 

However, the technology is constantly evolving. There are articles out there talking about [extending liver sell-by to 72 hours] by perfusing them with high-tech preservation fluid. 

But also remember – these surgeries are complicated. They need to be choreographed, like a dance. There’s a pecking order for when each organ gets removed (see a recent post on this topic). And in a real approved-by-doctors harvest, up to 25 people can be involved in the surgery, with eight or nine surgical teams taking part. 

So the most your character is likely to be able to effectively harvest on his own is a single kidney. 

Good luck with your story and with NaNoWriMo – and I hope they get the jerk! 

xoxo, Aunt Scripty

[disclaimer

Special Disclaimer: Do Not Murder People and Steal Their Organs. It’s Not Nice and the Meat Goes Bad Quickly. 

Unpopular Opinion

I actually wouldn’t mind if Matt replaced Lance as the blue Paladdin IF AND ONLY IF it meant that Lance would become a major antagonist. And I want a scene when he faces off against Matt, where everyone expects him to be furious about being replaced, but instead he just laughs and says “You talk about the Blue lion like she’s worth piloting!“ before proceeding to completely decimate it and wreck Matt’s pasty backside