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Transplant Hero: Dr. Eric Yoshida, Transplant Hepatologist

There are a lot of people involved in the organ donation and transplant process in our province. From doctors and nurses, to dieticians and pharmacists—each and every one of them play a vital role in helping people in BC get a second chance at life.
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Dr. Yoshida is one of those heroes.

What do you do? 

I’m a Transplant Hepatologist at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), which means I’m a liver specialist who has expertise in liver transplantation.  I work within a multidisciplinary team that includes transplant surgeons, post-transplant nurses, pre-transplant coordinators, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, nutritionists, spiritual care professionals, and a handful of consultants such as cardiologists and nephrologists. I’m thankful every day for their work on our important mission.

With the help of this team, we look after all liver transplant patients’ needs pre-and-post transplant. This includes: assessing transplant candidates for transplant feasibility and providing pre-transplant advice to referring specialists, managing immunosuppressive medications and any medication complications, diagnosing and treating rejection, and much more. 

How long have you worked in organ donation/transplant? What made you want to work in this field?

I’ve been involved with the liver transplant program since 1991 when I was a medical resident.  At the time, liver transplantation was very new in Canada and the USA. The Vancouver Sun had written a story stating that it was of unproven benefit and costly.  But I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as the only means for survival for some patients. It was an evolving field—one that needed to be supported. Since then, I’ve continued my involvement with the liver transplant program, both clinically and academically.

What do you enjoy most about what you do? What’s most rewarding?

The most rewarding aspects are when patients do well and live happy lives years after their transplant. It’s rewarding to be part of a profoundly life-changing experience for someone and the relationships I’ve had the honour of developing with them afterward. 

The expertise, enthusiasm, and dedication of the interdisciplinary team that cares for these patients  inspires me every day, as does being involved in clinical research and seeing those outcomes making a difference, not only in BC but also outside of the province.

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