Charlestown res­i­dent look­ing for liver donors



— A town res­i­dent is in search of a live liver donor due to com­pli­ca­tions from a cir­rho­sis di­ag­no­sis sev­eral years ago.

Two weeks ago, Deb­bie Mik­las, who is also a sec­re­tary at Charlestown Ele­men­tary School, was placed on the Univer­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Cen­ter Divi­sion of Trans­plan­ta­tion’s de­ceased trans­plant list. Mik­las was moved up on the donor list due to com­pli­ca­tions from the cir­rho­sis, in­clud­ing fluid in her lungs.

In ad­di­tion, Mik­las said she and her fam­ily are also look­ing for live donors to fur­ther in­crease the chances of find­ing a match.

Mik­las was ini­tially di­ag­nosed with pri­mary bil­iary cir­rho­sis in 2007 af­ter blood work showed her liver en­zymes were high and a biopsy of her liver was per­formed. Mik­las said she does not drink al­co­hol and there­fore knows the is­sue couldn’t be used by al­co­holism, a com­mon cause of cir­rho­sis.

“I just went back for a recheck for my gall blad­der re­moval and that’s when he told me,” she said. “I was shocked be­cause I re­ally hadn’t had any side ef­fects at that point.”

In ad­di­tion to the disease, Mik­las has ex­pe­ri­enced is­sues with fluid in her lungs, as well as esophageal varices. Within the last six months or so, Mik­las has had


fluid drained at least five times. In 2009, the varices were taken care of when doc­tors put bands around veins that were bleed­ing, as well as pe­ri­odic check-ups to make sure ev­ery­thing is OK. She said she also suf­fered from ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) melanoma on her eye a few years ago, although that can­cer is in re­mis­sion.

To help with the health is­sues she has, Mik­las said she takes ur­so­diol three time a day to slow the pro­gres­sion of the disease and daily di­uretic med­i­ca­tions for fluid in her lungs.

Cir­rho­sis is caused when the bile ducts are af­fected by the body, said Dr. John LaMat­tina, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of surgery at the UMD’s School of Medicine and di­rec­tor of the liv­ing donor liver trans­plant at the UMD Mary­land Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

LaMat­tina said there are over 400 peo­ple on UMD’s de­ceased liver trans­plant list, but over 17,000 na­tion­ally per­tain­ing just to the liver.

For those who are in­ter­ested in be­ing live donors, they must go through a screen­ing process.

LaMat­tina said the first step in the screen­ing process for the trans­plant in­cludes match­ing the blood type. He said the gen­eral rule is if the donor and the per­son in need do not have the same blood type, they are ruled out.

LaMat­tina said there are risks in­volved for the donor in­clud­ing mi­nor ones such as in­fec­tion, fever and nau­sea, as well as more se­ri­ous, un­com­mon risks such as liver fail­ure and death. He said none of thoee more se­ri­ous is­sues have oc­curred at UMD, but in the United States those risks have oc­curred.

“It’s some­thing we take very se­ri­ously at UMD,” LaMat­tina said of trans­plant surg­eries.

Mik­las said none of her im­me­di­ate fam­ily, which in­cludes her hus­band and three chil­dren, are el­i­gi­ble to be donors be­cause they have dif­fer­ent blood types. She has an O type and they do not.

Mik­las said she has had pos­si­ble live donors, such as her daugh­ter-in-law’s friend who was elim­i­nated dur­ing the screen­ing process due to pre­vi­ous ab­dom­i­nal surg­eries. She also said the hus­band of the friend who was ruled out is also in­ter­ested in do­nat­ing, but does not know where he is in the process.

To help find live donors, Mik­las’ hus­band, Phil posted on Face­book about his wife’s need for a donor. Phil said he de­cided to make the post be­cause it seemed like it was tak­ing a long time to find a donor.

He said Deb­bie has dou­ble the chances of find­ing a match due to look­ing for a live donor, as well as be­ing on the de­ceased trans­plant list.

“I might put it back on there now that I’ve been ed­u­cated more,” Phil said.

For in­stance, he said he’s learned that the liver re­gen­er­ates it­self, as well as that it is the largest or­gan.

He said if he posts an­other mes­sage on Face­book, he would add that if there is a match be­tween the live donor and his wife, the donor would be out of work for to six to eight weeks.

For those who are in­ter­ested in be­ing a liver donor for Mik­las, peo­ple can reach Phil Mik­las at pmik­las8@ya­

CCPS re­minds fam­i­lies to reg­is­ter for pre-k, kinder­garten


— With the first day of school now less than two weeks ago, Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools of­fi­cials are re­mind­ing county fam­i­lies to reg­is­ter their chil­dren for pre-K and kinder­garten.

Any child who lives in Ce­cil County and will be 5 years old on or be­fore Sept. 1 can reg­is­ter. While ev­ery stu­dent gets into kinder­garten, there are cer­tain qual­i­fi­ca­tions kids must meet to be au­to­mat­i­cally en­rolled in one of the county’s pre-K pro­grams.

Spots in the half-day, pre-K classes, which are of­fered at all 17 of the county’s ele­men­tary schools, are open first to eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged and home­less stu­dents, and then to spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents. Any child who doesn’t qual­ify un­der those two cat­e­gories is placed on a wait list and their en­roll­ment is de­layed un­til af­ter the first two weeks of school.

Par­ents can reg­is­ter their child for pre-K or kinder­garten by go­ing to their home ele­men­tary school, where the school sec­re­taries will help them through the process.

For pre-K reg­is­tra­tion, par­ents will need to bring a copy of their child’s birth certificate, proof of Ce­cil County res­i­dency and proof of in­come el­i­gi­bil­ity, if ap­pli­ca­ble. For kinder­garten reg­is­tra­tion, par­ents will need to bring a copy of their child’s birth certificate, proof of Ce­cil County res­i­dency and up-to-date im­mu­niza­tion records.

Any­one with ques­tions can con­tact the Early Child­hood Of­fice at 410-996-5424.


Justin, Deb­bie and Phil Mik­las stand in front of the North­east River in Charlestown on Mon­day night.

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