“He saved my life”: Honoring a leading transplant surgeon for 35 years of saving lives

Jenny Tice, 34, makes sure she lives each day to the fullest. She is a Bay Area native, works in finance in San Francisco, lives an active lifestyle, and volunteers. However, these milestones would not have been achieved without his help Carlos Esquivel, MD, chair of the Department of Transplantation at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. Twice saved her life.

“When I was 8 months old, I developed jaundice and my weight wasn’t gaining,” she says. “That’s when they discovered something was wrong.”

Tice was diagnosed Biliary atresiaIt is a rare disorder that affects the tubes in the liver called the bile ducts. It is the most common cause of childhood liver failure and can be fatal without a transplant. Back in 1989, when Tice was born, children under the age of two were almost never offered liver transplants.

Industry leader

Dr. Esquivel was an early advocate for offering liver transplants to pediatric patients and children. His efforts have saved hundreds of lives, including Tice, one of his older patients. in Pediatric Health at Stanford MedicineHe and his team built it Child planting programme It is now known as one of the largest and most experienced companies in the world.

“It goes above and beyond the call of duty,” says Tice. “Knowing that this is really the only chance for this person, and that he’s giving them that second chance — I feel like he’s sanctifying that.”

But Tice didn’t learn who the man was until 30 years later, when she was hospitalized as an adult at Stanford Health Care for her condition. Her surgeon walked into the room and said, “Long time no see.”

When he fixes you up, he has the biggest smile on his face, and I will never forget that. Your victories are his victories.

Jenny Tice, patient of Dr. Esquivel

It was Dr. Esquivel. The same man who saved her life as a child was there to save her liver again through bile duct surgery. She’s had the same liver for more than 30 years, which is much longer than the initial five-year estimate she gave it.

Tice attributes her success to the kind of care she received at Stanford Medicine.

“[Dr. Esquivel] She remembers with tears in her eyes. “He doesn’t want you to get sick. But when he fixes you up, he has the biggest smile on his face, and I’ll never forget that. Your victories are his victories.”

Because of her experience, Tice has turned to activism. Now volunteer with a nonprofit organization that raises awareness Biliary atresia It aims to advance research, as there is no known cure or cause for the disorder.

“Life is precious and something to celebrate,” she says. “My story is possible because someone said ‘yes’ to donating, so I celebrate this gift by sharing my experience in hopes it can inspire others and save lives.”

Honor the man who gave them a second chance

At the end of 2022, Dr. Esquivel steps down as department chief to focus more on his own Research and improve patient care. Once Tice and the other patients heard about it, they knew they wanted to do something to say “thank you.”

Nearly 10 patient families gathered outside Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford to surprise him with a reunion celebration, honoring his 35 years of service. It began by presenting Dr. Esquivel with a flag, drawn by the finger of his young patients. After that, there were letters describing Dr. Esquivel’s influence on the field.

Thinking of what it must have been like for him three decades ago, Taice had nothing but gratitude. “What would you say to someone who saved your life? He’s so brave. It’s so brave going through an operation that was inherently risky, and during a time when we didn’t have cell phones or pictures that we have now. I have no words to describe how grateful I am to him.”

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