Otteau Christiansen’s leukemia was already in an advanced phase when he received a bone marrow transplant in 1981. Nobody had ever survived the operation so late into treatment, but Christiansen is living proof that the odds can be overcome.
Still, Christiansen would later find that while he beat leukemia the transplant gave him another illness. The blood he was treated with was contaminated and the Twin Cities resident contracted hepatitis C. At the time there was no standard way of testing for hepatitis C.
In search for another transplant in 2008, a friend of Christiansen’s stepdaughter stepped in to help.
“It’s such a heroic thing,” Christiansen told Fox 9 in a recent story. “…he truly saved my life.”
This past March, Christiansen was in need of a third organ transplant and his wife, Carol, filled the need. Undergoing three successful organ transplants is exceptionally rare and University of Minnesota doctors are using it as a learning experience.
“He really is a lesson in the evolution of transplantation of the last 35 years,” said Hassan Ibrahim, M.D., director of the kidney transplant program at the University of Minnesota.
The U of M has been a leader in transplants for 50 years and has helped patients return to a normal way of life, including Christiansen.
“At the University of Minnesota I received the finest care available in the world and I owe a great debt of gratitude to them,” Christiansen said.
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