The Richmond Register

Local News

October 28, 2012

Sheriff receives life-saving liver transplant

MADISON COUNTY — Madison County Sheriff Jerry Combs was making tomato juice Friday night with this twin brother when he got one of the most important phone calls of his life.

“The call came about 10 o’clock, and they told him to be (at the hospital) at 11 or 11:30,” Fiscal Court Magistrate Larry Combs said.

A compatible liver had just become available. The sheriff’s bag had been packed for months, and he was ready to go to the UK Medical Center at a moment’s notice, his brother said.

Sheriff Combs got out of surgery at 7 a.m. Saturday, Larry said.

This isn’t the first time the brothers have faced transplant surgery. Due to the same hereditary disease, Larry also experienced liver failure and received a donor liver five years ago.

Although Larry said his brother isn’t out of the woods yet and faces a period of recuperation, the joy was obvious in his voice.

“He’s doing great,” Larry said.

On Thursday, the Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ Trust for Life had an event promoting organ donation at the Madison County Hall of Justice. In the press release, the Combses lent their support to the call for more people to sign up as organ donors.

“Currently, 30 percent of Madison County residents are registered organ donors,” Shelley Snyder, executive director of the organization, which was founded in 1992. She urged more people to register, and noted that Sheriff Combs was one of nearly 1,000 people in Kentucky who were waiting for the “gift of life.”

Statewide, 36 percent of Kentuckians are registered as organ donors, and the national goal is at least 50 percent, the news release said.

Larry Combs said in the near future he looked forward to launching the “biggest campaign you’ve ever seen” to promote organ donation, not just in Madison County but throughout the state.

Anyone can be a donor, regardless of age or medical history, according to the Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ Trust for Life. To join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry, visit www.donate lifeky.org.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694. 

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