Questions in the Wake of a Liver-Transplant Death

August 16 2010, 9:59 AM
The University of Colorado Hospital, which performed its first successful liver transplant using a live donor in 1997 and has completed a total of 141 since then, is "taking a step back" from performing the procedure following the death of 34-year-old Ryan Arnold, an orthodontist from South Dakota. The Associated Press reports that the death, if found by the Colorado Department of Health's investigation to be a result of the surgery, would be the first in the state and just the fourth in the nation. "If there's something that needs to be corrected, we will correct it," says hospital spokeswoman Erika Matich. The hospital is conducting its own investigation, and members of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons will review the case at the hospital's request. Arnold gave part of his liver to his brother, Chad, 38, a Castle Rock resident who suffers from liver disease. Arnold died four days after the surgery. Fox 31, which broke the story last week, reports that both men recovered at different rates after the surgery. Chad says his father broke the painful news: "My dad came to my hospital room and grabbed my feet. He leaned forward and said, 'I've got some bad news.' He was holding back the tears."