As regular readers of Zinc Moon will know, my husband had a liver transplant in June 2012….almost two years ago! He was lucky…he got a donor liver in time, and had an almost trouble free recovery that has meant he has been able to enjoy this second chance of life!

So, when we heard about this book, we immediately hunted down a copy to read!

How to Do a Liver Transplant is written by Kellee Slater…a top Australian transplant surgeon, based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, QLD.

How to do a liver transplant

You know you are in for a “guts and all” ride when the opening chapter discusses phlegm and toes that have fallen off due to gangrene…this is not a book for the faint hearted…or weak stomached!

Slater does not mince her words…she writes as she sees it…and I thoroughly enjoyed every page!

My husband and I know all about liver transplants from a recipient and carer point of view…but we are somewhat shielded from the reality of what exactly happens in theatre.

We were warned of the risks of the surgery…but my husband had no choice…he had to have a new liver or he would die.

This book gives us some insight to what the surgeons, and other transplant staff, go through when performing these life saving operations.

And I love Slater’s matter of factness…with a touch of humour…my sort of person!

Life is cruel sometimes…we know that from experience…but I like to have all the facts…don’t sugar coat it….and thats how Slater writes.

She also doesn’t try to baffle the reader with medical terminology…you don’t need a medical degree to read this!

How to do a liver transplant1

The book tells of how Slater became a surgeon, including packing up her family and moving overseas, to Denver, Colorado to train at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre…this was the hospital that the father of liver transplantation, Thomas Starzl, performed the first ever liver transplant in 1963!

She writes of what its like to go on retrieval missions…all the emotions of dealing with a donor..and often their families as well.

Transplant surgeons have to be ready at all times of the day or night…its hard work, its demanding and at times, it can be very emotional.

Yet you can tell that Slater loves it..and thanks goodness there are surgeons that take on this work load, for without them, people like my husband would not be alive and well today!

I packed How to do a Liver Transplant to read on our recent flight…and I have to say the two hours went past so fast…I could barely put it down to eat my lunch!

I kept elbowing my husband and saying “listen to this”….”did you know that”?

I also laughed out loud a few times…one such occurrence was when I read about patients refusing to get out of bed after a liver transplant because they were worried that their new liver would fall out of position…Slater assures them that it doesn’t ever happen, and they have never had to retrieve a fallen liver out of anyone’s pelvis….

My husband read it on the flight home…and did exactly the same thing back to me…this is him pointing out where his wonderful donor liver is…


So if you want to know what its like to be a transplant surgeon, or want to know more about the liver and transplantation….and it sure ain’t a walk in the park…get this book!

We highly recommend it!

How to do a Liver Transplant by Kellee Slater is available at good bookshops, and online.

We bought our copy at the ABC Shop!