Over 500 liver donor applications received to help Senators owner Eugene Melnyk

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Mere days after the Ottawa Senators revealed that owner Eugene Melnyk is “in urgent need of a liver transplant,” the University Health Network’s (UHN) Donor Assessment Team has gotten more than 500 donor applications, per the Senators’ update.

Of those applicants, more than 12 candidates have already been selected to engage in the donor screening process and are at various stages in it. The UHN is still encouraging people to continue to fill out and send in the donor assessment form.

There is no liver transplantation scheduled yet and there won’t be a timeline until a suitable donor is identified. However the procedure could end up happening “within a week,” per Dr. Atul Humar.

“With living donation, you can do the transplant sooner than if (the patient) waited on the deceased donor list, so the outcomes tend to be quite good… Many patients with severe liver disease, they’re very sick, and the longer they’re waiting for a liver the sicker they become, so it can be a more difficult recovery process,” Humar told the Ottawa Sun.

“For the donor, typically the operation is several hours long, and they’re in hospital for five to seven days, and they recover over the next few weeks after that.

“For the recipient it varies quite a bit. It depends on how sick they are before the procedure and how well they tolerate the surgery, so the recovery period could be anywhere from a few weeks to as long as a few months.”

Melnyk has been dealing with major health issues since mid-January. His family reached out to his friends and broader family in search of a live donor, but thus far a suitable donor hasn’t been located.