Living Donor Liver Transplant: Arnulfo and Jason

Recipient: Arnulfo Rodriguez, Flint, MI
Donor: Jason Rodriguez, South Lyon, MI

Living donor liver patients Arnulfo and Jason72-year-old Arnulfo Rodriguez lives a full life. In 1969, when American cars owned the road, he began a career at GM assembly. Then, a stint in the Marine Corps. Finally, a position at GM Engines that let him see 40 years at the company. Always the outdoorsman, Arnulfo loves fishing, hunting, and camping on his 80 acres in the U.P., which he still does to this day!

Life was great, until eight years ago when he was diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the most severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Arnulfo shares that liver disease runs in his family, as his father passed away from it. After years of monitoring and watching his condition, things were looking worse. Arnulfo was retaining substantial amounts of fluid, which had to be drained regularly, eventually 5-8 liters at a time. It was time to consider a liver transplant.

Arnulfo’s twin brother is a liver transplant recipient who remains close and supported Arnulfo throughout the transplant process. Five years ago, he had liver transplant surgery at another Michigan hospital. His recommendation? “Go see someone at Henry Ford!”

As Arnulfo met his surgeon at the Henry Ford Transplant clinic in Flint, family and friends were offering to become living liver donors. The best match turned out to be his 33-year-old son, Jason. One of four siblings, Jason was glad to be chosen and approached the opportunity as a gift to future generations, “I couldn’t let my kids, or my nieces and nephews grow up without this guy. The need their grandfather in their lives… “

“I couldn’t let my kids, or my nieces and nephews grow up without this guy. The need their grandfather in their lives… “

Jason enthusiastically recalls the experience, “Everyone was great, especially my surgeon, who made me comfortable with the entire process.” The donation process went smoothly for Jason, and soon he was back to picking up the kids, enjoying the outdoors and participating in his passion, disc golf.

Meanwhile, Arnulfo, had post-surgical complications and needed to return for repair of a bile duct leak. Despite an extended hospital stay and the effects of a second surgery, he made it through the process. And he credits the staff at Henry Ford Hospital with providing not only medical support, but the emotional support he needed at the toughest times.

Living donor liver patients Arnulfo and JasonBoth Jason and Arnulfo recall favorite Henry Ford team members, including transplant Surgeon Atsi Yoshida, M.D., and Living Donor Advocate Maria Zanini.

What now? Arnulfo and wife Margaret look forward to traveling again, visiting their daughter and son-in-law, who are in the military and may be stationed across the globe in places like South Korea or Germany, and re-taking the cruise they had to leave when Arnulfo first became ill.

Of course, there’s also the joy of everyday living and living well. As Jason tells it, “To my dad, everyone is honey… My mom, the kids, the cashier at the grocery store. He loves everybody.” All indications are the years ahead look pretty sweet for the Rodriguez family.

Take the next step

Speak with a Transplant specialist.


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