Longest Liver Transplant Survivor: Life After The Transplant


This article explores the post-transplant life of the longest liver transplant survivor from the United Kingdom. The liver is a very important organ in your human body. Let’s do a quick recap about its functions. The liver is responsible for the absorption, digestion, and processing of food. Its primary job is blood filtration carried from your digestive tract before it passes into the rest of the human body. In addition, the liver further removes toxins, chemicals, as well as metabolizes medicines. With the aid of vitamin K, your liver creates proteins that become essential during blood clotting. Moreover, the liver is one of the few organs which can break down damaged or old blood cells. The liver takes on a fundamental role for all metabolic functions inside the human body. During fat metabolism, your liver cells start breaking down fat and creating energy.

About Liver Transplant

A liver transplant or hepatic transplant is the substitution of an impaired liver to a healthy liver coming from a donor (known as an allograft). It is a method alternative for patients suffering from a final stage liver disease as well as acute liver failure. However, accessibility for benefactor organs can be a big limitation. Based on a study, people that go through liver transplantation have a high chance (approximately 89%) of good life following a year. In fact, five years to survive is also at a high percentage at 75 percent. Occasionally the transplanted organ can fail, or the actual disease can return. The chances for a rewarding liver transplant with long-term success depends on the patient’s specific condition. In general, the average rate is 70% and 5 years for those recipients that have undergone liver transplants. So who is the longest liver transplant survivor? Let’s get to know him here. Read on.

Gordon Bridwell: Britain’s Longest Liver Transplant Survivor

It seems like the average Joe, but maybe not. Gordon Bridwell, a resident of the UK, has recently turned 70. And guess what, he went through a liver transplant during 1975. He’s still kickin’! Gordon Bridewell experienced his arduous 12-hour operation nearly 45 years ago. This is when the doctors discovered an inoperable tumor within his liver. Gordon underwent 4 mistaken alarms while he expected a donor following a long hunt across Europe. Gordon said that he was only given 5 months until an appropriate liver started to be available. An avid footballer, Gordon resumed playing and even finished a 100-mile river raft racing. He still goes to work as a garage mechanic.

What Happened That Lead To Liver Transplant

Gordon’s amazing story began following a minor accident during the course of a football game. A small lump was seen in his leg, aching when he started to walk. Later, Gordon went through surgery to eliminate the particular lump however, he began experiencing blackouts as well as hallucinations due to the fact that his liver failed in the filtration of anesthetic. Soon after, Gordon was directed towards the specialists wherein he went through 25 tests. He recalled being slightly unsure why he was referred to the specialist, and suddenly, the consultant informed him he had a tumor inside his liver. The tumor was successfully removed, however, later on, more test reveals the tumor was actually had a second one, and it was inoperable. Specialists then highly advised to get liver transplantation.

Liver Donation

Gordon said he was in shock, and that it was hard to absorb the new news. He was aware that kidney transplants work, yet he had not known about liver transplants at the time, except for emergency cases, and usually among the elderly. The transplant was excruciating and inquiries needed to be stretched towards the other parts of Europe just to find the best organ match. Additionally, the rate is not high, but at 50% for patients undergoing liver transplants for life beyond 5 years. It had been in waiting, and a very apprehensive one at that. Gordon said he went through 4 false alarms. When he arrived in London, he found that the organs offered were not suitable. Gordon woke up immobile after his life-changing operation and wearing tubes, plus both 30 internal and external stitches. He remembered being excited to eat his first meal again. Funny enough, the liver and onions were presented. His recuperation went for a handful of months at King’s then later at Addenbrookes Hospital. He remembered being determined to recover and get stronger.

After The Operation

Gordon remembers the first dish he was presented with after the operation in London’s Kings College Hospital. It was onions and liver. Gordon still recognizes his surgeon that later became a close friend of his. The transplant was performed particularly during 1975 at New Year’s Eve when he only not even 30 years of age (29). The life-saving transplantation was guided by Roy Calne, and now known as Professor Sir Roy Calne. Calne carried out his first-ever liver transplantation in 1968 Europe.


Gordon gave himself one year to be able to work fit again, and he was able to at 13 months. During that time, it was very difficult, especially with a manual type of work, but Gordon did. In fact, Gordon was soon kicking in the field only five years post-surgery. He later finished the 100-mile raft race, the first-ever transplant patient to ever do so. Calne, his surgeon, nearing 90 years of age, and also his close friend, now tells him that he is an icon. Professor and Doctor Calne is a world-renowned transplant surgeon. He still works in medical research and remembers Gordon’s surgery very well, especially at grueling 12-hour operations during that time, and while survival was not at a high level.


Gordon Bridwell’s survival is a wonderful testimony to the marvels of the transplant surgical procedure. If there is a reason to become a donor, it’s Bridwell’s story to look up to. Gordon still lives a happy and normal life after many years now and is a strong supporter of organ donation. His operation changed his entire life and now inspires other people while telling them about how wonderful donors can provide for the world. A happy-go-lucky and healthy longest liver transplant survivor is a rare and beautiful miracle.

Longest Liver Transplant Survivor

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