Why Is Access to Good Medical Care So Limited?

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10:27a.m. ET UPDATE:

I just spoke to Catherine's husband, J.D. Peter's doctor said Peter's morning ultrasound looks good: the new liver is working. Catherine is still in ICU.

If you saw Tuesday night's show, you know the good news: Catherine Herridge and her infant son, Peter, are doing really well. Per the medical reports at the end of the day, both emerged from surgery with high marks! The next few weeks are important, but we are confident that they will both do well. They are in very good hands at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. I know I sound like a broken record, but UPMC is truly a remarkable medical center — both in skill and how they make the patient feel.

Of course we will report how Catherine, Peter and the family progress over the summer. I can tell from the e-mails that you are as excited about this as we are. Modern medicine can be truly extraordinary. I only wish access to good medical care were not so limited.

As an aside, I can't figure out why our politicians — BOTH Republicans and Democrats — have failed us so miserably in working out a health care system for our nation. I wish they would quit fighting, quit playing politics and think of the people. Maybe they need a day in the infant transplant ward at UPMC. They might all agree it's time for a solution. Actually, it's long overdue.

And, while I am on a roll about Congress — and on a slightly similar topic — can you tell me why they — BOTH Republicans and Democrats — need and have rules to tell them not to accept gifts from lobbyists? Isn't it obvious? Do they really need rules to tell them? We constantly hear about ethical rules they have or intend to enact to govern their behavior, but isn't it obvious what is appropriate and what is not? Has it occurred to you that Congress needs rules to govern behavior that is obvious to the rest of the country?

(Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog — and depending on whether I have had too much coffee or not — I may or may not start in on corporate execs in publicly held companies and their use of corporate jets for private trips at the shareholders' expense. Or my other favorite topic — golden parachutes — meaning millions in shareholder money for failing. They get millions awarded them for failing and leaving the companies!)

Now for the killer of Tiffany Souers, the Clemson student who was murdered. About 11:45 p.m. ET Tuesday night the suspect was arrested. He was arrested about a mile from his mother's home. No doubt students in the Clemson area — and others — are relieved.

Finally, for some of your e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

In a time when children are sold and stolen, it is inspiring to know that there are unselfish and loving parents. My grandson was born with just three heart chambers and underwent three operations before he was 2 years old. The first when he was 8 days old. The anxiety we felt was amazing. The advances in medicine over the years are astonishing. The survival rate for his condition 15 years ago was about 15 percent. Today it is almost 90 percent. Are prayers are with Catherine and Peter and of course the doctors who will perform the surgery.
Bill Rodebaugh
Philadelphia, PA

E-mail No. 2

The entire Loudin family sends its prayers and best wishes to the Herridge family. My father received part of my sister's liver at UPMC's Montefiore Hospital last August; we found Dr. Marcos and the entire transplant staff to be extremely competent and compassionate. Mrs. Herridge and her son couldn't be in better hands.
Doug Loudin
Charlotte, NC

E-mail No. 3

Thanks for your update on Catherine and Peter. Our grandson was born with a liver disease and diagnosed at 3 months. A month later when they put a name to his disease we learned he would need a transplant. He was put on the "transplant list" at 6 months. Four days after his 1st birthday he was called to Pittsburgh. They have a wonderful medical team there. Jadon looked great in just a few days.
Now Jadon is almost 4 1/2. He is doing so well... you would never know he had a problem except for his scar and his daily medications. What a blessing he is.
Please send our thoughts and prayers on to your friend. What a brave person she must be. I know they will both be fine and home in a few months.
Sue Garman
Grand Island, NY

E-mail No. 4

I’m moved by this story about Catherine Herridge's greatest gift, not just because of its powerful message, but because I just went through live liver donation for my brother a few months ago. I have blogged about the process faithfully at http://chopped-liver-blog.blogspot.com/, chronicling the before, during, and after related to this amazing, intimidating, and inspiring process.
Now, I am working toward a re-launch of my blog as a new online community for potential, current, and past live organ donors. The site will be called GreatestGift.org. It’s a few months away yet, but in the meantime I’m using Chopped Liver as my ongoing means of staying in touch with the community and of sharing my experience and other information with the Web community.
I will link to this story today from my blog. I hope you’ll tell Catherine about it, and encourage her to contact me if she has any questions, wants to talk with someone else who has been through this intensely personal experience, or simply wants to vent about hospital food. She is in my thoughts and prayers!
Becky Waller
Minneapolis, MN

E-mail No. 5

I read about the challenge that Catherine Herridge and her family are facing on your blog. As a mother of two young children, I could not read about it without being touched. We tend to forget that the reporters that come into our homes every day have their own obstacles and challenges to face. What a gift to give to her child and what an inspiration. I will pray for Catherine and her sweet baby boy. Thank you for bringing this story to us.
Tulsa, OK

E-mail No. 6

I would like to share a similar event with my then 9-month old son who underwent a liver transplant due to his billiary atresia disease. The donor was a friend of ours down the road from us. My wife and I were not physically compatible and she approached us with the offer to donate a portion of her liver for my son who had about 2-weeks to live at time of the surgery performed at the Johns Hopkins UMC.

E-mail No. 7

Hi Greta,
I just wanted to send an e-mail to thank you, Catherine and her family for allowing this story to be told. My son Adam was born October 2005 and was diagnosed with Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency at 2 weeks old. Which is a genetic disorder that affects his liver and lungs. Never in a million years did I think about having a sick baby. He has a sister who was born 5 years before him and is as healthy as can be. Then I was overwhelmed with the fact that my son was sick very sick and that he would have to have a liver transplant. Adam was in the hospital and had a liver biopsy that shows he has mild liver damage. Doctors were thinking that he would have to have a transplant within a few months. But some how things have come around, thanks to all the thoughts and prayers from everyone. Adam has not yet had to have a transplant, but some day will have to but doctors are trying to hold out as long as the liver is functioning to allow him time to get bigger. I never understood how many families have to deal with liver problems in their young children until I had Adam. Hopefully with this story being told more people will understand and donate their time, money or even organs when possible. My prayers are with Catherine, Peter and their family. Please remember you are not alone.
Nickie, Chris, Breanna and Adam

E-mail No. 8

My name is Crystal and my son also had a liver transplant. His was from a deceased donor, but I understand completely those hours of waiting. I wanted to let Catherine and her family know that I am thinking of her and praying for her and little Peter. I am part of a support group that deals with Pediatric Liver Disease. There are many families there who's child has been diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, along with many other liver diseases. The Web site is www.liverfamilies.net. I also wanted to say that I am so happy that something like this is in the news. Most celebrities or people on TV don't want stuff like this to get out in the public. I think it is wonderful that this has been made public, and that people can learn about organ donation, and the importance of it! Thank you again, and please pass on our well wishes to Catherine and her family!
Crystal LaMadline
Mom to Trenton liver tx recipient 11/05

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