Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital patient Stefano Pretorius remains grateful after two successful liver transplants.

Pretorius explained that he had his first transplant in 2007 after endless visits to different doctors.

“I started falling ill in 1997 but no one could tell me what the problem was. I went to a lot of doctors who also couldn’t figure out what the problem was until 2005 when a professor from the University of Pretoria examined me and conducted a liver biopsy which confirmed that I had a liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis [a chronic liver disease in which the bile ducts inside and outside the liver become inflamed and scarred].”

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He added that 18 months later he received a life-changing call confirming his first transplant surgery at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre.

The liver disease survivor said not only was he happy to hear that he was scheduled for a transplant, but he was also happy that his wife was pregnant.

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“My wife and I were trying to conceive in 2005 with no luck, until 2007 when she found out she was three months pregnant which was a few days before my transplant.”

Stefano Pretorius prepares for an interview at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. Photo: Asanda Matlhare

Pretorius said his lowest moments were in 2016 when he was in constant agony, couldn’t be of help in the house and couldn’t bond with his children due to being in and out of the hospital even after his first liver transplant.

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“My symptoms before the second transplant proved that the liver disease returned, because I experienced debilitating pains which led the doctors believe my body was rejecting the newly transplanted liver. My treating physician later gave me a call after meeting with a board of experts, as I was on my way to the intensive care unit, to discourage the hospital surgeons from performing a rejection surgery.”

He noted that although he still battles with the disease four years after his second transplant, his family continued to support and pray for him.

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Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital patient braved two liver transplants

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