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Firefighter Gives Gift of Life to Bishop Weigand

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill reporting Doctors at UCSF Medical Center recently performed a complicated transplant surgery. It's the story of a firefighter who has given a true gift of life to a man he barely knows.

The firefighter gave part of his liver to a Roman Catholic Bishop.

Dan Haverty gave his wife Terri one big hug before going into surgery toat UCSF medical center. The fifty year old firefighter from Sacramento is donating the right lobe of his liver to a man he barely knows.

Dan Haverty/ Liver Donor: "It's an important gift and I'm really happy to do it for him."

The man receiving part of Haverty's liver is William Weigand, the bishop who heads up the Catholic church in Sacramento. Without a transplant, Weigand would die.

Haverty read about the bishop's plight in the paper. Tests revealed they were a perfect match.

"I believe that it was spiritually guided, but I think we need to remember each one of us every day has multiple oportunity to do acts of charity or good works."

The surgery is one of the most specialized and challenging surgical procedures done in the world today. Two operations go on: one to surgically remove the right lobe of Haverty's liver, and the second, to transplant it into the bishop.

Nathan Bass, M.D./ UCSF Liver Expert: "In transplantation, it certainly represents a difficult and challenging undertaking. the liver is such a great organ, it regenerates itself."

" So my left lobe will regenerate back into its nearly full size. My right lobe, which will be in the bishop, will regenerate back into nearly its full size. And here's the cool thing-- it does that within 10 to 30 days."

Dan Haverty is one of a growing numnber of Americans who wish to donate a part of their liver or a kidney. Last year, organ donations from the living increased slightly. However, nearly 88,000 people are still waiting for a transplant, and thousands die every year as they wait.

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