Centers for Excellence

Dear Sir or Madame,

My name is Sara E. (Beth) Kasulaitis. I was and am a patient at the Emory Transplant Clinic. One year ago my life was saved by the enormous gift of an anonymous donor and the compassion and dedication of the doctors and nurses at Emory.

Having been rejected by another hospital I found my way to Emory and was accepted on June 25, 2008, with a MELD score of 35. I remember begging Dr. Karsan and Dr. Spivey not to let me die, I knew that I was very close to death. I was admitted to the hospital that day and remained hospitalized until July 14th. On Saturday July 19th I received "The Call". It had taken less than a month, after the tireless efforts of many to stabilize me I received the gift of a new liver. My life has been forever changed. Not only do I have my life, but I have a new outlook and appreciation for everything and everyone.

I was fortunate enough to be transplanted by an incredible team of surgeons and nurses and anesthesiologists. My team was headed by Dr. Stuart Knechtle and Dr. Luke Shen. I found out later that I was Dr. Knechtle's first transplant at Emory and that really made me feel like I had won the lottery. I will always have a special place in my heart for Dr. Knechtle and Dr. Shen and all the others who were there that night with me. I wish I could remember everyone's name, but I will always remember their faces and never forget how hard they fought for me. It really was like winning the lottery, I still feel that way today and know I always will.

The compassion that was shown to me lifted me from a place I hated. I have learned so much about being a good person from everyone that I have come in contact with and come to love. There are no finer medical professionals as those at Emory.

My commitment to a good life could not be stronger. Not only do I intend to honor my donor but also to honor those who fought so incredibly long and hard to keep me on this Earth. I do believe that God has a plan for all of us and I believe totally that God touched those with whom I came in contact with and gave them the knowledge and fortitude to fight for me.

During my journey I have come in contact with many different departments at Emory and not once have I not been touched by the warmth and the incredible commitment to healing as well as caring for those whom they heal. When I come to Emory (the Transplant Clinic especially) I feel as if I am coming home. When you are recognized by staff, by name, at each visit, when you come in contact with the doctors and nurses and they know you and your situation and can read you like a close friend, you have no need to worry or be frightened. You know immediately that your best interest and your care are the most important things on their agenda. And it's not just for me, but for all the patients that they treat.

I feel blessed to be a part of the Emory "family" and I recognize how fortunate we are that Emory University Hospital and the staff are here, in Atlanta, to heal and to help so many.

To the Transplant Clinic, the incredible nurses and staff doctors on 5G, 7G (formerly 9E), the Transplant ICU, Dermatology, Neurology, and the Business Office ... Thank you for what you have done and continue to do for me and for the countless others whose lives you change. Each of you are special and gifted and I for one will always be grateful. As far as I am concerned there is no other hospital and there are no other medical professionals that I want to take care of me -- under NO circumstances. (My coordinator Janelle, and my PA's on the liver team; Hillary, Dave, Holly and Tanita, know how true a statement that is.)

My life has been saved and changed. It would not have happened without each of you that have been a part of my journey. Thank you.


Sara E. (Beth)

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