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A successful bowel transplant gives a guy from Russiaville a second chance at life



Indianapolis, Indiana – A bowel transplant gave a guy from Russiaville a second chance at life.

Up until October 2017, Tony Finch was a healthy and regular adult. He suddenly began to lose weight quickly at that point.

Over a few months, he dropped 60 pounds in total. Before arriving at IU Health, he had to see a number of medical professionals. No one was able to determine why he suddenly stopped taking in nutrients from the food he consumed.

“When I met Tony, he was very weak, severely malnourished, and had a very poor quality of life because of his gastrointestinal symptoms. By the time he was referred to our intestine transplant team, he had tried a lot of diets and some specialized tube feeding, and all of those failed. His only option was to go on total parenteral nutrition (TPN),” said Tracy Burch, a Senior Clinical Dietitian at IU Health University Hospital.

For patients who have no other options, this technique is becoming more effective and saves lives. Finch had to wait 21 months to receive his transplant. His dietician, Burch, played a significant role in getting him in shape for the procedure and helping him recuperate afterward.

“He actually had some of the highest IV needs that I’ve seen in any of the patients I’ve worked with. He was home on TPN and additional IV fluids. Sometimes up to 10 liters a day,” said Burch.

On July 11, 2019, Finch underwent a successful procedure to replace his entire small intestine and a portion of his large intestine. Tony claims that Lisa, his wife, was crucial to his at-home care.

“I don’t remember a lot of this stuff because I was so dehydrated. I was hallucinating and stuff like that, and a lot of the prep getting there I don’t even remember other than her telling me I got the transplant,” said Finch.

“I think the biggest thing was keeping him nutritionally healthy enough to be out of the hospital to be home and be a good candidate for transplant,” said Lisa Finch, his wife, and at-home caretaker. “Just be on IV nutrition and fluids all that time.”

“That’s 24/7 nonstop, and she’s doing a lot of the IV work here at the house,” continued Tony Finch.

He and his wife expressed their gratitude to his medical team for helping him transition from being a sick version of themselves to playing with his grandchildren.

“I appreciate it a lot more,” Tony Finch. “Hanging out with the kids, grandkids, the wife.”

To make sure Tony is not rejecting his new organs, the Finch family schedules routine follow-up visits.

Tony will commemorate the fourth year since receiving his second chance at life this July.

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