JESSICA HORTON Staff Writer
As a kid, Dublin native Wyatt Lee Ferguson, 54, donated one of his kidneys to a cousin; now that donation may make his current situation worse.
Ferguson has been in Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital for four weeks now, slowly recovering from what his doctors and specialists are calling a “liver Coma.”
The Ferguson family admits that Wyatt’s problems began with the damage that was done to his liver by alcohol and drugs from his younger days, but worsened considerably recently, after two back surgeries, and a pump was installed to help control the pain.
The pump’s pain medicine combined with the other medicine Ferguson is taking caused swelling in his feet and legs, making eating and breathing difficult, and has a feeding tube.
When a nurse at Harris Methodist turned down the amount of medicine the pump was giving him for pain, the doctors figured out that the combination of medicines Ferguson was on was contributing in large part to his problems. After several tests, it was determined that because he only has one kidney and a good portion of his liver has basically disintegrated, the medicine wasn’t doing what it supposed to.
With his medicine adjusted, Wyatt has regained the ability to speak, walk a bit with the help of a physical therapist, and even eat a little on his own. And while he is doing better, specialists say that Ferguson will need a liver and kidney transplant before he will fully recover. For the moment, however, he faces problems that require constant care. So much so that his wife has had to go on medical leave from her job, and may have to quit all together. He must have two units of blood a day, is susceptible to constant illnesses, like pneumonia, because his immune system is down, and is even a diabetic due to the stress of his illness.
Last week the Ferguson family was informed that he will be placed on a waiting list for a transplant, which is based on scores determined by need. But even if the transplant happens soon, some of the problems he deals with on a daily basis will continue to be a problem as he recovers. Wyatt is looking at two or three days in ICU after the surgery, another few days in a hospital room, and then two to three months in a special care suite in the hospital to ensure constant care as his body adjusts to the new liver and kidney.
While the Fergusons currently have insurance through Mrs. Ferguson’s job, it will expire. In order to help the family for insurance, medical bills that insurance does not cover, traveling expenses, and medicine for Wyatt after the transplant, the Wyatt Lee Ferguson Fund has been set up at TexasBank in Stephenville and Dublin and donation cans have been placed around town.
For more information on how you can help, or to check Ferguson’s progress, contact his sister, Carol Ferguson, at 968-7641.