Imelda Guzman, the mother of a liver transplant recipient, says she has a strong desire to meet and bond with families who, like them, have a loved one in need of or have undergone a liver transplant operation.
When she and daughter Marilda went to Manila for a vacation last April, they took time to visit four-year-old Aga Fulgencio who was then recovering from his liver transplant operation performed on February 17, 2015 at The Medical City (TMC). Marilda underwent the same operation in 2013 also at TMC.
“In my own way, I would like to offer our support and share our experiences with Aga’s family,” says Guzman.
Waiting for or living with liver transplant can be difficult. Thus, having support from family and friends can be very helpful.
“The patient and his family may also benefit from joining a support group of people who understand what the patient is going through,” says Dr. Vanessa de Villa, head of TMC’s Center for Liver Disease Management and Transplantation (CLDMT).
With this in mind, CLDMT in coordination with TMC’s Center for Patient Partnership (CPP) is launching the Liver Transplant Information and Guidance Through Awareness and Support or LIGTAS support group.
LIGTAS is designed to offer support and education to liver transplant recipients, candidates, caregivers and family members. It provides a forum for sharing information and experiences and helps patients and their loved ones better understand and cope with the issues and concerns associated with liver transplant.
The support group uses a multidisciplinary approach in providing social and wellness support and education on liver health and disease to its members. LIGTAS is facilitated by a set of professionals engaged in allied medical, administrative and support services.
“All liver transplant candidates, recipients and their families are eligible to join LIGTAS. They just need to fill up an application form which can be secured from the CLDMT office at TMC Ortigas,” says Dr. De Villa.
Dr. De Villa, a liver transplant surgeon, has worked in some of the best transplant centers in the world and plays a lead role in the development of liver transplant in the country. Since 2011, CLDMT under her leadership has done eight liver transplant operations.
In January 2011, TMC performed the first successful pediatric liver transplant in the country with three-year-old Catherine Erica Buenaventura as patient. Erica then had a living donor, her 17-year-old uncle.
Marilda and Aga were TMC’s third and 7th liver transplant recipients respectively.
“We have proven again that we can do successful liver transplants here at The Medical City. The expertise is here, the technology, the system and all the auxiliary services are ready. We can offer our patients in the Philippines the same world-class quality healthcare that overseas liver centers provide,” says Dr. De Villa.
Dr. De Villa is also thankful for the generous support of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) led by its General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas II. The PCSO, through a formal partnership with TMC, has been very committed in giving liver transplant patients financial assistance.
Aside from the generous financial aid, Rojas also makes it a point to personally visit these patients, to talk to them and provide moral support.
“We at CLDMT and the PCSO will further strengthen our partnership as we seek to reach out to more patients in dire need of liver transplantation,” adds Dr. De Villa.
The CLDMT is a specialty unit that offers a comprehensive array of diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with liver diseases and liver tumors through an integrated and highly skilled multidisciplinary, patient-partnership approach.
It is otherwise known as The Medical City Liver Center and may be reached through 9887000 local 6506.