Who knew liver transplantation was so difficult to get approved for? (obviously I was kidding)

Here's the situation:My father in 2007 was diagnosed with Hep C and Hepatits related Cirrhosis. The kicker is, he never drank, never did drugs, never had any piercings, never had any tattoos.

In 1981, he had a really bad hernia and required surgery. During surgery, he lost a lot of blood, and required a transfusion. The doctor informed him when he was diagnosed, that since blood screening back then was shoddy at best, and he had no other risk factors, he likely acquired the Hep C from the transfusion.

So he goes almost 30 years with no symptoms, then was rushed to the hospital with a ruptured ulcer in 2007. While being treated, tests showed abnormal liver function, and a subsequent biopsy, further blood tests and an ultrasound showed he had Hep C and Cirrhosis.

Since his diagnosis, he has made several dramatic lifestyle changes. He takes no NSAIDS, and only takes medicine given by his doctor for his condition. He gets regular exercise, eats no beef or pork, drinks no soda, and rarely eats anything with salt in it. He has an extremely healthy diet, and when you factor that in with all the other lifestyle changes, he says he feels a lot better.

However, it seems like about once a year something goes wrong and he ends up spending a week in the hospital. The first time was another ulcer. The second time, low iron and severely low hemoglobin. The third time, it was another hernia operation that required surgery, where he lost a lot of blood and required another transfusion.

Most recently, in January of last year, he collapsed and began vomiting blood. We rushed him to the ER, and they admitted him and discovered he had what they call bleeding esophageal varices. He received treatment for it for several days before they released him.

After researching the condition, it is caused by liver disease. Also, it apparently kills most patients before they can get to a hospital, so he was very lucky. Since then, he has had to go back every 3 months to get the varices rebanded in an outpatient procedure to keep them from bleeding or rupturing.

Last Summer, my father in law volunteered to be a live donor. They are the same age, same size, and my father in law is a picture of perfect health, always has been a health nut. He was qualified by all of these, plus matching blood and tissue type, to be a live liver donor for my father.

The problem is, the laws still require you to be approved to be put on the transplant list, regardless of your donor situation. Baffling to me, but nothing can be done to get around it that we know of.

So every six months, I have to take my father to VCU in Richmond to get a bunch of tests done, fill out a bunch of papers, see the doc, etc. to get what they call a MELD score. If I understand correctly, your score needs to be higher than 19 to get on the list. Since he has a live donor, the list would only be a formality, as they could do the procedure almost immediately once he is qualified.

Last year, they said his MELD score was 14. Since then, he has had the episode with the bleeding varices having to constantly be rebanded, and has been put on additional medication to reduce portal hypertension. He has constant bouts of blood in his stools, maybe 6 times a year. You would think that all of this would make him qualified. While we still won't know for a few weeks whether he is or not, the doctor told him when we were there yesterday, that even though he has had these severe issues, he can't guarantee that it will qualify him.

WTF? Why is it that even with a live donor ready to go, they are basically making him wait until he is shaking hands with the reaper before they approve him? My dad is my best friend, he always has been. I know he's going to be gone someday, but he's only 58 years old, I'm not ready yet and I know he isn't.

I am closer to my father than anyone on this planet, and everyone, including myself, is worried to death over the mental and emotional breakdown I am likely to have when he goes, especially if it is before he can get a transplant.

The stress is driving everyone nuts. I have a heart condition that I worry will kill me if he can't get this transplant and ends up dying in wait. I honestly have no idea how I will handle it.

I'm sorry, I'm sure some of you might think this didn't have to be a thread, and I agree somewhat, but I just need anyone to talk to and a place to vent and get things off my chest once in a while. It helps me a lot more in dealing with the whole situation.