WJTV News Channel 12 - Pancreas transplant at UMC a first for Mississippi

Pancreas transplant at UMC a first for Mississippi

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Paul Davis has been a type 1 diabetic since the age of nine. Paul Davis has been a type 1 diabetic since the age of nine.

It's another first for doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Last week, doctors at UMC replaced a man's kidney and pancreas, effectively curing him of type 1 diabetes.

Paul Davis has been a type 1 diabetic since the age of nine. Now 49, he can live life like never before.

"When they said that I could get a kidney and pancreas transplant, I jumped at the chance. A once in a lifetime thing, so I went for it!" says Davis.

UMC doctors just recently got the go-ahead to begin pancreas replacement procedures. Davis was on the top of their list. When a pancreas became available at 1:00 in the morning last Thursday, doctors called him. But he didn't answer.

"Got ahold of his sister who then went to his house and found him basically on the floor passed out with a blood sugar of 30," explains Dr. Mark Earl, who performed the transplant. "Called the ambulance who came and gave him some glucose, and then we got him to the hospital and did his transplant later that day."

A week later, Davis' new pancreas if producing insulin properly--something his body hasn't done in four decades.

"He didn't require--I don't believe--even a single drop of insulin after the transplant," says Dr. Steven Wagner, UMC's assistant professor of nephrology. "His blood sugars have been essentially normal since the transplant, and his kidney function has been improving everyday."

Doctors call Davis the 'perfect patient.' Only a small group of type 1 diabetics are eligible for this replacement. But now, for the first time, they can get it done close to home.

"So now, patients from Mississippi and Mississippians can come here to UMC and get the transplant they need," says Dr. Earl.

"I want to thank the organ donor's family for allowing this to happen too," says Davis.

Davis' lost six toes due to his diabetes. He also had many other medical complications over the past 40 years. He looks forward to living a normal life and eating foods he never could before.

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