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Media Contact: Holly Korschun
  (404) 727-3990
02 February 2004
Mason Trust Awards $2M to Emory and Children's Healthcare for Liver Transplant Chair
Wachovia Bank, N.A., Trustee of the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust, has awarded $2 million to Emory University and to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to help ensure access to care for all Georgians in need of liver transplantation. The award will create the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Chair for Liver Transplantation.

The liver transplant program at Emory and Children's is directed by Thomas G. Heffron, MD, a nationally renowned liver transplant surgeon, who currently is program director, Pediatric Liver Transplantation at Children's, and associate professor of surgery and program director for Adult Liver Transplantation at Emory University Hospital.

Dr. Heffron and the liver transplant team have provided groundbreaking leadership in pediatric, living-donor and split-liver transplants. The team performed Georgia's first living-related liver transplant, in which part of a living donor's liver is given to a patient recipient. They performed Georgia's first split-liver transplant in 1997 and helped perfect this technique, in which a single deceased donor organ is used for two different organ recipients. These techniques can potentially increase the number of organs available for children in need of liver transplants, meaning a shorter waiting period and lower mortality.

"This unique gift in support of liver transplantation, shared by Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, will solidify the important partnership among our two institutions and facilitate Dr. Heffron's work in both organizations," said Christian P. Larsen, MD, DPhil, the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and Director of the Emory Transplant Center. "It will leave an indelible mark on both our institutions and on the entire state. One of the greatest barriers to transplantation today is the availability of organs, and living donation provides a method of increasing the supply of donor organs, making transplantation available to more Georgians."

"This chair truly exemplifies the collaboration that exists between Children's and Emory, and our common goal to have the premier pediatric liver transplantation program in the country," added Jay E. Berkelhamer, MD, senior vice president, Medical Affairs, Children's. "It is a testimony to Dr. Heffron, his leadership and his surgical skills, which assure the success of this program and offer hope to children and families."

ABOUT THE EMORY TRANSPLANT CENTER The Emory Transplant Center, the most comprehensive transplant program in Georgia, is highly regarded both nationally and internationally for combining state-of-the-art patient care and patient outreach, innovative research and research collaborations, and patient and physician education. The Emory program includes bone marrow, cornea, heart, islet, kidney, kidney-pancreas, liver and lung transplantation, with some of the very best patient outcomes nationally. Emory performs about 60 percent of all organ transplants in Georgia, and the Mason Transplant Outpatient Clinic receives more than 15,000 patient visits each year. For more information about Emory visit, and to learn more about transplantation, call 404.712.4444.

ABOUT CHILDREN'S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric healthcare systems in the country, is a not-for-profit organization that benefits from the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our community and state. With 430 licensed beds in two hospitals and more than 400,000 annual patient visits, Children's is recognized for excellence in cardiac, cancer and transplant services, as well as in many other pediatric specialties. To learn more about Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, visit the Web site at or call

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