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Man awaiting liver transplant gets some hope during coronavirus outbreak

A man born with a rare liver disease was told he may have weeks to live when his uncle was no longer able to donate his liver after the coronavirus pandemic put elective surgeries on hold. CNN's Randi Kaye has more.

Posted: Mar 31, 2020 3:45 AM


Zach Branson can once again look forward to getting a new lease on life now that his liver transplant has been rescheduled after being put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Branson's transplant was delayed when his uncle was no longer able to donate his liver after the outbreak forced hospitals to put elective surgeries on hold to focus on the coronavirus.

But Monday brought the good news that the surgery to save his life is back on.

Branson was born with a rare liver condition and was always told that he would one day need a transplant.

Before the surgery was rescheduled, Branson told CNN he had only weeks to live.

In February, his uncle was approved as his living donor, and a transplant was scheduled for March 25. But then coronavirus broke out in the United States.

Twelve days before his uncle was to undergo surgery, Branson said his surgeon called to say the procedure was off. Branson's surgery was essential, but the surgery to remove his uncle's liver was elective and all non-essential surgeries were canceled in light of the pandemic.

Branson was told the hospital expected the coronavirus to peak in a few weeks, which could close the window on transplant surgeries for a year, he said.

Before Monday's news that his surgery is scheduled for next week, Branson feared he would have to wait for another donor.

He was preparing himself for the possibility that the clock would run out before he could find a solution.

"I feel that I have definitely lived much longer than anyone ever expected, and I've accomplished a decent amount of things, touched a few people, so even if that death sentence is the case I am willing to accept it," Branson said.

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