Margaret Stegall (right) visits with Janet Thorin.

Margaret Stegall (right) visits with Janet Thorin.

Margaret Stegall (right) and Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret during her first post-operative appointment.

Margaret Stegall (right) and Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret during her first post-operative appointment.

Nurse Rachel helps Margaret Stegall take the right medicine to help her digestive organs start working again after surgery.

Nurse Rachel helps Margaret Stegall take the right medicine to help her digestive organs start working again after surgery.

Dr. James Pomposelli, the surgeon who performed Janet Thorin’s transplant surgery, and his team stop by Margaret Stegall’s room. Dr. Pomposelli tells Margaret, “Your liver is doing great down the hall!”

Dr. James Pomposelli, the surgeon who performed Janet Thorin’s transplant surgery, and his team stop by Margaret Stegall’s room. Dr. Pomposelli tells Margaret, “Your liver is doing great down the hall!”

On the transplant floor of UCHealth, Margaret Stegall rings the donor bell in support of organ donation when she leaves the hospital.

On the transplant floor of UCHealth, Margaret Stegall rings the donor bell in support of organ donation when she leaves the hospital.

Wonderfully Made

Posted: May 1, 2021

The human body has 78 main organs. Five of them are vital organs—the major organs necessary for life. One of these, the liver, has a miraculous quality: Like skin, it can grow back.

In Psalm 139:14, David says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Ms. Stegall thought about that verse a lot as doctors explained what would happen during her surgery.

Ms. Stegall met with Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Pomfret has performed more than 400 live liver transplants. She warned Ms. Stegall: The incision (cut) would be longer than a ruler. It would run straight down the middle of her abdomen. The operation and recovery could go wrong in several ways.

Why would Ms. Stegall risk her life for a stranger? Dr. Pomfret was amazed by Ms. Stegall’s willingness to help. But Ms. Stegall says she never even thought of turning back from her decision to have surgery. She had faith that God would give her everything she needed for “life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

The transplant surgery lasted about five hours. Dr. Pomfret removed more than half of Ms. Stegall’s liver. Of course, Mrs. Thorin had to have surgery too. Her surgery was even more complex.

Right away, Ms. Stegall’s liver began working and growing inside Mrs. Thorin. The first night after surgery, Mrs. Thorin’s skin began returning to a normal color. The next night, her itching began to subside. Her mother says, “She got the first night of sleep in many years.”

Now it’s recovery time for Ms. Stegall. She’s eating lots of protein and drinking fluids. This will help her liver regenerate (grow back). What’s left of her liver should be back to normal size in about 12-14 weeks. The scar will stay forever—a reminder of her sacrifice.