Hesperia Mayor Russ Heading To New Orleans For Double Organ Transplant

Hesperia Mayor Paul Russ, who was handed a possible death sentence earlier this year when he learned his only kidney was failing and he had liver cancer, is soldiering on and will temporarily relocate to Louisiana next month to await a double organ transplant he hopes will prolong his life.
Russ, 57, is no stranger to dire health challenges. At the age of 12, a viral infection devastated his kidneys. In 1986, at the age of 26, he began kidney dialysis. A year later, he received a kidney transplant from his brother, Raymond. That kidney did him yeoman’s service for thirty years, twice the 15-year span typical kidney transplants remain viable.
Along the way, Russ contracted hepatitis, but treatment had rendered it dormant.
In March, he pulled a muscle and took a muscle relaxant. A metabolic reaction to the muscle relaxant activated the hepatitis C. Dazed and disoriented, he was taken to the emergency room at Desert Valley Hospital. There it was determined that the drug he was taking was not passing beyond his kidneys, to the point that he had gone into stage 4 renal failure. He was given prednisone and he recovered, relatively, to stage 3. Follow-up tests showed his kidney is failing and that he had liver cancer.
This summer, he was set to begin chemotherapy to combat the liver cancer, which would have precluded any possibility that he could get another kidney transplant, consigning him to a lifetime of dialysis.
Before actually beginning chemotherapy, he applied for a double organ transplant. He was recently informed by Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans that he has been accepted. He will sojourn there in two weeks and await the availability of the two organs he needs.

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