'Super' Liver Transplant Patient Receives Gift of Life for Christmas

John Roberts, MD, chief of transplant surgery at UCSF Medical Center, congratulates Troy

Super Sr. after a successful surgery. Super became UCSF's 3,000th liver transplant patient.

Troy Super Sr., had a simple Christmas wish: a new liver so he could be healthy for his family.

On Dec. 2 he was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder in which the body cannot get rid of extra copper. This buildup can be poisonous to the liver, brain, and other vital organs. Super’s condition had become so serious, he needed liver transplant surgery to survive.

He and his family traveled more than 350 miles from Crescent City, Calif., near the Oregon border to UCSF Medical Center for his life-saving treatment.

“The Number One place to get everything done was at UCSF, so we didn’t mind the seven-hour drive,” Super said.

Less than two weeks after being diagnosed, Super got a new liver. He became the 3,000th liver transplant patient at UCSF, which ranks third in the country for the number of liver transplant operations. Outcomes at UCSF are rated “better than expected” compared to other U.S. liver transplant programs, based on risk factors.

Nancy Ascher, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Surgery, signs a commemorative t-shirt

for Troy Super Sr. to remember his experience at UCSF Medical Center.

“We have been fortunate to be able to transform people’s lives,” said Nancy Ascher, MD, PhD, chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery. “There is an entire team of people – nurses, social workers, and other team members – who work with us to make this happen.”

UCSF’s liver transplant team has witnessed their patients go on to have families of their own, contribute to their communities and even enjoy grandchildren.

“It’s incredible to watch them make the most out of their gift of life,” said John Roberts, MD, chief of transplant surgery at UCSF Medical Center. “Just being able to continue living and reach personal milestones are gifts you cannot put a price on.”

Super had his liver transplant operation on Friday, Dec. 13, and was discharged just five days later. This Christmas, he’s back home.

John Roberts, MD, and Nancy Ascher, MD, PhD, pose with congratulatory balloons for Troy

Super Sr. moments before they enter his hospital room.

“It truly is a miracle,” he said. “I had my preacher come and bless me before surgery. As the saying goes, ‘If you ask, ye shall receive.’”

Super’s children and grandchildren had their one Christmas wish come true.

“I am truly blessed,” Super said. “I thank the good lord for an amazing team at UCSF. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of doctors. I bet my life on this team, and here I am better than ever!”




Photos by Leland Kim