UCSF Pediatric Transplant Patients Reunite After Two Decades
The SF Examiner reports on the reunion of three UCSF pediatric transplant patients, now adults, whose own children now attend the picnic with them.
Chris Mudge will never forget the three very sick children who awaited liver transplants in the early 1990s at UC San Francisco Medical Center at Parnassus.
Back then, it was hard for Mudge, a pediatric transplant nurse practitioner at what was then UCSF’s children’s hospital, to imagine her patients all grown up and with their own offspring.
But that was the scene at the 20th Annual Chris Mudge UCSF Pediatric Transplant Picnic reunion for doctors, nurses, transplant patients and their families on Aug. 1, as the children of those now-adult liver transplant patients participated in pony rides, face-painting, crafts and other activities at the reunion at McNears Beach in San Rafael.
“It was surreal,” said Karen Paulsen Garcia, 33, of the reunion with her childhood hospital friends Justin Erickson, 32, and Molly Rouse, 35. The picnic marked the first time the trio, which Garcia said used to “wreak havoc” in the hospital halls, had reunited in two decades.
Garcia lives in Salem, Ore., but grew up in Livingston in Merced County, about three hours from San Francisco. Erickson was raised and still lives in Redwood City, and Rouse in the East Bay.
UCSF surgeons performed the hospital’s first liver transplants on both an adult and child in 1988, meaning the procedure was still fairly new when Garcia, Erickson and Rouse received their transplants between 1992 and 1993.
From left, Justin Erickson and his 16-year-old daughter Ashlynn, Molly Rouse and her nephew Gus, 3, and Karen Paulsen Garcia with her sons, Patrick, 9, and 13-month-old Matteus attend the UCSF Transplant Picnic at McNears Beach in San Rafael. As children in the early 1990s, Erickson, Rouse and Garcia received liver transplants at UC San Francisco Medical Center at Parnassus. (Courtesy Molly Rouse)