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Mother, daughter reflect on history-making transplant surgery at UT Southwestern

A mother and daughter share how their liver transplantation brought them closer together a year after their recoveries.

In 2019, Pamela Arrington and her daughter Robin Neely made history when they underwent UT Southwestern's first living-liver transplant. Ms. Neely donated nearly 60 percent of her liver to her mother. A year after their successful recoveries, both mother and daughter reflect on the life-altering experience. 

Read more about their patient care story.

 

Transcript

[Pamela Arrington]

It's been different than prior to my surgery. I felt much more energetic. Much better, like a different person.

[Narrator]

Words Pamela Arrington’s daughter, Robin, has been longing to hear.

[Pamela Arrington]

Well, I've always felt close to our daughter. Love her very much. She proved that she really loves me, but I think we're closer. Well, she saved my life.

[Narrator]

Just before the holiday season last year, Pamela was fighting for her life. With a failing liver and what seemed like not much time on the clock, Robin decided to step in and help – donating 60 percent of her liver to the person she looks up to most.

[Robin Neely]

We're closer in a way that not many people can be having gone through an experience like that, just in the prep work and the immediate timeframe of surgery and recovering together. I think it's something that not many people can experience, but it’s an experience that will bring you closer.

[Narrator]

A gift that not only meant the world to her mother, but one that made history at UT Southwestern.

[Arjmand Mufti, M.D.]

Pamela is the first living donor that was done at UT Southwestern.The reason, we can donate, parts of our liver is because the liver is an incredible organ and it will grow back after surgery. Typically, at the time of living-donor liver transplantation, uh, we will leave at least 30 percent of the donor's liver behind and within two months that liver will have grown back to close to its previous size.

[Robin Neely]
UT Southwestern has a very good reputation for being excellent at what they do. And we certainly found that to be true. And our personal experience there at every level – top, down, the whole team.You can't even speak about how important to every player is in that process.

[Narrator]

Now, a year post surgery both mother and daughter feeling ‘normal’ again are looking forward to the future – one that will be connected forever.

[Pamela Arrington]
I'm thankful for every day, since our daughter gave me her liver and gave me life.

 

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