Pediatric Transplantation

Liver Transplant: Isaac's Story

UW Health Transplant: Liver Recipient Isaac WeinbergIsaac Weinberg was barely a teenager when he was diagnosed with Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma (EHE), a rare form of cancer that affected his liver. 

With few treatment options for the cancer, which only affects a few hundred people worldwide, Weinberg's parents began their mission to find a treatment that might save their son's life.

"At first we didn't know where to look for help," said Mary Weinberg, Isaac's mother. "I’m a nurse and my husband, Guy, is a doctor, but in all of our research we could find very few treatment options or research for Isaac's disease."

The Weinberg family learned that one of the only treatment options for this type of cancer is a liver transplant. After spending nearly two years monitoring Isaac, his health began to deteriorate and they began the search for a transplant program.

"Knowledgeable friends suggested that we think about UWHC in Madison," Mary said. "We also had physicians and colleagues who recommended Madison as well, so we made an appointment and they were able to see us within a week."

The Weinberg family met with Dr. Anthony D'Alessandro, Director of the UW Hospital and Clinics liver transplant program, to discuss Isaac's situation, and a potential liver transplant.

Isaac was accepted as a transplant candidate in spring 2010 and was near the top of the transplant list while he was listed in both Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Weinberg family received their first call within a week; however, the organ was not suitable for transplant, so they turned around. Then, three weeks later on Mother’s Day of 2010 Isaac received a new liver.

"Everything went perfectly," Mary said of the six-hour operation. "He didn't need a blood transfusion and he only needed to stay in the hospital for 10 days."

Isaac recently finished his junior year of high school in Illinois. Doctors continue to monitor his liver, but as of right now his EHE is in remission.

"I’m so grateful to UWHC and the Ronald McDonald House for making a difficult experience tolerable," Mary said. "Everyone on the UWHC staff acted as if Isaac was their only patient. They were all so engaged and always willing to answer all of our questions."

"It's difficult to convey our feelings of indebtedness to the team at UWHC for doing such a remarkable job for Isaac,” Guy added. "It was really an A+ experience, and I'm a tough grader."