Top 10 Bizarre Organ Transplant Stories

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Organ donors and transplants save the lives of millions each year that are suffering from diseases or disorders that deem their own organs unusable. While most operations go on without a hitch, here are some of the most bizarre stories ever recorded regarding transplants. From the transplant of a womb to a man demand his donated kidney back, these stories are definitely out of the ordinary.

10. Which Child Would You Choose?

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Sometimes parents are faced with the question of which child they would pick if they had to choose. For most, this question is unanswerable and completely hypothetical, but not for Antony Levin who was forced to choose which child would have their life saved by his donated kidney. At the age of three his daughter Jade was found to have degenerative kidney disease and only a year later their five-year-old son, Keegan, was found to be suffering from the same genetic disorder. The Levins had three children, the first was unaffected, but the genetic disorder continued to affect each progressive child more and more. Jade had shown more severe symptoms early on to the point where she was going through dialysis up to three times a week. Their parents knew it would come to a point where they would have to choose which child to save and which to put on the waiting list, but Jade’s time came first. Antony had to undergo four months of preparation and despite the dangers; his kidney was shown to be a perfect match for Jade. Luckily, Jade and Antony’s procedure went perfectly, but Keegan continues to get worse. As his kidney’s give up, he is forced to go on dialysis and must wait until a matched kidney shows up for him.

9. Caroline Burns Wakes Up

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Imagine waking up to find yourself laying on an operating table surrounded by doctors a few seconds away from splitting you open to harvest your organs for transplant patients. This is exactly the kind of situation Caroline Burns was facing after she was pronounced dead from a severe drug overdose. Burns had woken up just in time before doctors had the chance t actually carry out the procedure. Despite several signs of improvement, Burns had be declared dead after she was unresponsive for quite some time and placed on life support. Doctors had assumed that since they were unable to administer charcoal to soak up the excess drugs in her system, her death was inevitable. Unbeknownst to doctors, Burns continued to fight for her life while on the ventilator. Her toes and tongue began to move, as she was even able to start breathing for herself. After several CT scans, doctors told her family the brain damage was irreversible and she was taken off the respirator. Lucky for her, they hadn’t yet cut her open though her timing was definitely too close for comfort.

8. Self-Grown Face Transplant

Xu Jianmei, a 17-year-old girl, looks at a mirror as her mother combs her hair after a reconstruction surgery of her face at a hospital in Fuzhou

For most people that have their faces severely disfigured there aren’t very many options for improvement. That is until a 17-year-old named Xu Jianmei was able to get a new lease on life after she had a face transplant grown… on her chest. Jianmei’s face was severely disfigured during a fire when she was a young girl and because of this, she was left without a chin, eyelids, and parts of her right ear. Now Jianmei isn’t the first to receive a face transplant, but it’s the manner in which it was grown that makes this story so amazing. Using the tissue on her chest, blood vessels from her leg, and a balloon to expand the skin, Jianmei was able to grow her very own face transplant in just a matter of months. She has undergone the procedures to have her face reconstructed, all of which have been successful. Doctors say that within time all her scars will be replaced with fresh skin and she will even be able to blush again, something that was never thought to be remotely possible. Several more of these self-grown transplants are beginning to take place as the procedure catches on.

7. Meliha Avc? Gets an Organ From Her Husband’s Other Lover

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It seems that there aren’t too many good things that could come from your husband cheating on you as your suffer from kidney failure and must undergo dialysis for 12 hours a week. However this is not the case for Meliha Avci, a Turkish woman that whose life was saved after receiving a kidney from her cheating husbands lover. Her husband, Mehmet Avci, met his mistress, Ayse Imdat, as Meliha underwent her treatments. Mehmet and Ayse’s affair even went as far as having Ayse move into their house as a “babysitter”. At the time, Meliha had no clue what was going on between them, but was shocked to find out later that the woman who stole her husband had given her a kidney in return. Apparently Ayse felt it was the least she could do for Meliha after ruining her marriage. The transplant was quite successful and Meliha bears no ill will towards Ayse, even requesting that Mehmet and Ayse get married after she passes.

6. Martin Warburton’s Transplant Contract

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As most people know, the British take their football allegiances very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that a man named Martin Warburton made his brother sign a contract to change his allegiance to Manchester United FC before giving him the vital blood transplant that his brother, Paul, was in need of. With Martin strongly supporting Manchester United and Paul backing the Blues, Martin found his desperation for a transplant the perfect opportunity to squash their ongoing rivalry. Paul was diagnosed with lymphatic leukemia and given a very grim outlook on life if he didn’t receive the matching red stem cells that his brother Martin jut happened to have. The contract was signed and sealed by Paul promising that he would “pledge his allegiance forever to Manchester United for receiving these magnificent red cells. Chortle at regular intervals when Manchester City is relegated. Laugh hysterically when Afro Kev Keegan loses his cool yet again at the frustration of not being able to match Sir Alex Ferguson. Join the Manchester United FC supporters association. Change the exterior and interior decoration of his home to red. [And lastly,] All windows to have red stained glass.”

5. Perfect Kidney Transplant Thrown Away

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Kidney transplants aren’t something that come around everyday, so when someone in dire need of a kidney is given the opportunity to receive one, it’s a very big deal. Unfortunately for Sarah Fudacz, her answered prayers were literally thrown away when a nurse mistakenly dumped her brother’s donated kidney into the garbage. Her brother, Paul Jr. had been determined to be a perfect match for Sarah and had undergone his surgery without any complications. As the transplant kidney was waiting to be carried into Sarah’s room, it was sitting in a slush machine to keep it usable. A nurse who had just returned from lunch then took the machine and disposed of it along with the rest of the garbage from Paul Jr.’s surgery. The University of Toledo expressed its deepest apologies to the family and arranged for Sarah to receive another immediate kidney transplant. Despite the success of the transplant, the Fudaczs still sued the hospital for its negligence.

4. Six Organ Transplant

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Undergoing transplant surgery to have just one of your organs replaced is a dangerous and time-consuming ordeal. Now imagine being only 9-years-old and having to undergo an unprecedented six-organ transplant surgery. Alannah Shevenell was suffering from a myofibroblastic tumor encircling her blood supply and squeezing her esophagus shut, making her unable to eat. Her future seemed to be bleak until a last ditch effort found her a matching transplant donor for a new liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas, esophagus, and small intestine. The surgery took over 14 hours, but proved to be a huge success. Not only did the surgeons have to perform the six transplants, they had to remove the tumor off of her existing organs as well. Aside from having to remain on anti-rejection medication the rest of her life, Alannah is now back to normal and better than ever.

3. Susie’s New Heart Makes Her Straight

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A woman only known by Susie was in desperate need of a heart transplant after suffering from cardiomyopathy secondary to endocarditis. The heart was quickly donated to Susie by a 19-year-old girl named Sara after she was killed in a car crash. Prior to the transplant, Susie was a lesbian and known for her strong argumentative views on gay rights and gay politics. Along with being a huge advocate of gay rights, she had a strong dislike for men and how they treated women.  She was also well known for her love of junk food especially that of McDonald’s. Following the transplant Susie and her family began noticing some drastic changes in her behavior. She suddenly had a disgust of meat even getting sick at the sight of it despite being an avid McDonalds fan. The doctors brushed off these claims by saying it was a reaction to her medicine. The most bizarre part of this transplant story was Susie’s change in sexual orientation. After receiving her knew heart, Susie found herself turned on and in love with men in a way she’d never before experienced even getting rid of all her old gay memorabilia. She found herself incredibly confused as she quickly found a boyfriend she fell in love with and while she was still attracted to girls, guys offered her much more of a mental, emotional, and physiological reaction than they ever had before.  She also found herself reliving her donor’s accident every night even feeling as if she was taking part in it. After an interview with Sara’s mother it was found that she was both an avid vegan and quite boy-crazy. Her mom described her as a girl with a wild personality who loved to date and have fun. As she died, Sara had written to her mother how the accident had felt went it occurred, which closely matched Susie’s account of the experience every night.

2. Demi-Lee Brennan’s New Organ Changes Her Blood Type

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One of the biggest issues with organ transplants is finding the correct match with one’s own blood type to stop the receiver’s body from attacking the new organ. Demi-Lee Brennan, however, didn’t have this problem being that she is the first known case of having her immune system and blood type match that of the organ she was given. Doctors were absolutely baffled by the occurrence calling it nearly impossible. Demi-Lee began the ordeal with O-negative blood before receiving a liver from a little boy to replace her own that was destroyed by a virus. After receiving the organ, her condition began to grow worse and doctors feared that the new liver hadn’t been accepted. As she grew more and more ill, doctors decide to take another blood test only to find that she had changed blood type to O-positive, the same as the liver she was given. The reason she was getting so ill wasn’t that her body rejected the organ, but that her body was rejecting her old blood type because of the immune-suppressants she was being given for the transplant. Amazingly, while all other transplant patients are forced to stay on immuno-suppressants for the rest of their lives to keep from their body rejecting the organ, Demi-Lee doesn’t need them and is actually much better off without them. She has fully recovered since the operation with no further complications.

1. Claire Sylvia Matches Her Donor

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Doctors have long debated the plausibility of transplant patients taking on traits of the organ donors. A woman named Claire Sylvia is one of the most interesting case studies used to back the idea of “cellular memory”. After receiving a heart and lung organ transplant from an 18 year old killed in a motorcycle accident, Sylvia began noticing some drastic changes in her personality for no apparent reason. She was in need of the organs after she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and was brought to Yale to have the operation. Following the transplant, she found herself taking on much more manly traits than usual with her favorite color changing from pink to green and blue as well as a newfound love for beer and junk food that she had always hated prior to the transplant. Even more eerie was when Sylvia began having dreams of motorcycle accidents and a man named TL. She decided to investigate these odd changes and soon looked up the obituary of the man that had been her donor, Tim Lamirande. The similarities between the two became incredibly bizarre after Sylvia took a trip to talk to Lamirande family about their son’s personality. She found that he loved beer and junk food as well as green peppers and France. Sylvia had also found herself with a strong urge to visit the country as well as a love for peppers that she previously avoided at all costs. Her dreams grew more bizarre a she dreamt of 22 roaring motorcycles engines in celebration of some unknown event only to wake up and realize the next day would have been Tim’s 22nd birthday. While some scientists are highly skeptical of “cellular memory” Sylvia’s case is one of the most exact and well-known cases of it. Sylvia even went on to write a book entitled A Change of Heart to keep a record of her bizarre similarities to Tim. Whether or not it exists, no one can deny the bizarre similarities found between the donor and receiver.


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1 Comment

  1. There’s an interesting study about cellular memory: It only appears in countries, where the recievers are allowed to get in contact with the donor’s family. This is not possible everywhere. In Germany, for example, the reciever is allowed to write an anonymous letter to the family, but he doesn’t even get to know whether they wanted to recieve it. The reason for this is to prevent the recievers of donor organs to fall in some kind of debt to the family.
    So there are no considerable reports of people changing their personality in strange ways after a transplant, but many say they changed their habits because they were given a second chance and wanted to make something out of it.
    This seems much more plausible to me. You don’t need to get “infected” with the donor’s personality to change your outlook on life after such a thing happens. People changing their sexuality? They just didn’t dare to do so before, just as an example.

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