Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is recovering after having a successful liver transplant, his doctors said Thursday.
"Both the recipient [Melnyk] and the donor are currently stable and recovering well from their operations," said Dr. Atul Humar, medical director of the multiorgan transplant program at University Health Network in Toronto. "… Mr. Melnyk is in our transplant ICU but he is awake, he is smiling and he is answering questions."
Several weeks ago, Melnyk was assessed by doctors who determined he was in urgent need of a liver transplant. He had the procedure Tuesday.
Melnyk was placed on the deceased organ donor waiting list but because of the scarcity of deceased organ donors he was offered the option of living donation.
Humar said initial assessments were performed on Melnyk's friends and family but they were unable to find a match, which is the reason the Melnyk family decided to make a public appeal through the Senators organization.
More than 500 people applied to be a donor for Melnyk, and though one was found quickly, the Senators reported more than 20 have chosen to be a donor for someone else.
"On behalf of the transplant program, I would like to commend all the truly amazing people in the community who stepped forward as potential donors," Humar said. "All of you are truly heroes."
Malnyk's donor, who wished to remain anonymous, was chosen Monday after a screening process.
Dr. David Grant, director of the living donor liver transplant program, said the donor's motive was to "help Melnyk return to good health, to enjoy his family and friends, and most importantly to bring the Stanley Cup home to the Ottawa Senators."
Melnyk will be discharged from the hospital in one to two weeks and is expected to make a full recovery in three to six months, according to Dr. Eberhard Renner, director of liver transplantation.
Renner said if Melnyk doesn't experience any complications following the surgery he should expect to return to work in a year, with regular blood tests every three to four months.