Largo Medical Center October 08, 2018

Fralick with jaundice, prior to liver transplant.

Picnic Planned to Celebrate Life for Transplant Recipients

32 year-old Angela Fralick, recent liver transplant recipient, will be celebrating life along with other Transplant Institute of Florida (TIF) transplant patients, at an annual picnic in Lake Seminole Park on Sunday, October 28th. The Clearwater, Florida resident's life-threatening condition illustrates an alarming trend in millennials; one that has been identified not only at the TIF at Largo Medical Center, but nationwide. Millennials are contracting and dying from cirrhosis of the liver at an alarming rate.

Since 1999, cirrhosis of the liver deaths have risen sharply in the U.S., increasing by 65%. The largest increase is among people aged 25 to 34, at 10.5% per year, according to a University of Michigan study published in July. The study concluded alcohol is to blame for this surge in deaths among millennials. Researchers noted more young people are coming into facilities for alcohol detox.

"We are extremely disheartened about this trend and have seen it first-hand here at Largo Medical Center," says Anthony Degina, Largo Medical Center CEO. "As one of only 8 hospitals in the state approved for liver transplants, we can offer our patients treatment options for those with serious liver disease."

Cirrhosis is a late stage scarring of the liver that can be caused by conditions including chronic alcoholism. It usually shows no signs or symptoms until the damage is intense. When symptoms do occur, they often include yellowing of the skin, jaundice and fluid build-up in the abdomen referred to as watermelon belly. "About 10 years ago, I turned to alcohol for help with my stress and anxiety," reflected Angela Fralick, liver transplant recipient. "I started getting sick, fatigued, my stomach was distended, jaundice was setting in, my eyes were turning yellow. I went into liver failure at the age of 32!"

"The fact is that an increasing number of young people are dealing with alcohol cirrhosis, and the only way to get there in your 20's is excessive alcohol abuse," said TIF Chief and Transplant Surgeon, Hussein Osman-Mohamed, MD, PhD, FACS. "We are now evaluating an increase in younger patients for our liver transplant list. We are constantly working to educate the public about liver disease and how alcoholic cirrhosis is preventable."

"Winding up in the hands of the team at the Transplant Institute of Florida is what saved my life," continued Fralick. "The staff kept me educated and reassured every step of the way. Having been in the fight for my life at such a young age, I'm thankful to Largo Medical Center, to be happy and healthy and with my incredible boys!"

Angela will be attending the 3rd Annual Transplant Institute of Florida picnic on Sunday, October 28th from 11:00am - 2:00pm at Lake Seminole Park, Shelter 8 & 9, located at 10015 Park Blvd, Seminole, FL 33777.

Fralick with her children in the hospital.

Fralick at post-op doctor’s appointment with transplant surgeon and coordinator.

Fralick after good news during post-op doctor’s appointment