Teacher saved by liver transplant helps open S.F.’s newest hospital
SAN FRANCISCO – Among the dignitaries who recently gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting marking the opening of California Pacific Medical Center’s (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital, stood a man who was grateful to attend the ceremony for a very personal reason: He almost didn’t survive to see it.
Nearly two years ago, San Francisco resident Richard Shapiro received a life-saving liver transplant at CPMC, part of the not-for-profit Sutter Health network. After several decades of living with the hepatitis C virus, the Lowell High School physics teacher’s liver function was being monitored closely by CPMC liver specialists. In 2014, a follow-up on a suspicious MRI scan revealed a liver tumor. The tumor was successfully removed, but subsequently, his liver function declined and he needed a liver transplant to save his life. After two years on the organ transplant wait list, a donor liver became available. In May 2017, he received the liver transplant that saved his life.
Shapiro feels extraordinarily lucky to have received his transplant surgery at CPMC and says his survival is “a miracle which is the result of the skills, the dedication and the humanity of an amazing liver transplant team working within the Sutter Health network of care.” He is thankful to the dozens of caregivers at CPMC who kept him healthy enough long enough to receive a liver. Says Shapiro, “That’s part of the miracle; the fact that I continue to have the opportunity to do what I love to do—which is to teach physics to the profoundly wonderful students at Lowell.”
Two years post-transplant, he has completely recovered and has returned to his normal activities, including teaching and walking his Potrero Hill neighborhood with his dog.
Shapiro’s participation in the hospital ribbon cutting is a powerful reminder of the primary importance of patients at Sutter and CPMC: our patients’ health is at the heart of what we do every day.