Transplant survivor invites doctor to Kilmore

By Evelyn Leckie

IAN Dempsey, who survived a liver transplant in 2012, reunited with the man who saved his life last week.

Professor Robert Jones visited Kilmore Trackside last Tuesday to speak with Southern Mitchell Rotary Club about his career in organ transplant surgery, an event organised by his previous patient, Mr Dempsey.

“It was great to introduce Dr Jones to the Rotary Club – we had the highest turn out and his speech was so interesting,” Mr Dempsey said.

Mr Dempsey was living in Kununurra, Western Australia in 2010 when he fell ill –
experiencing complete blackouts.

We was advised to return to Victoria for specialist treatment at the Austin Hospital, where he met Dr Jones.

“I had turned completely yellow, my skin, my eyes when it came around to 2012 and I went under the knife. The next day, with a new liver, my eyes had gone back to a white colour – it’s incredible what a liver transplant can do.”

Dr Jones said in 2012, around 25 per cent of people volunteered to be organ donors, and now around 70 per cent of people are putting up their hands to be donors.

The Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne also explained how sick patients could become without a functioning liver.

“It’s amazing how even the next day after surgery, the patient’s life is completely changed and they feel and look immediately better.”

Mr Dempsey said he was glad the event was a success.

“One of the members was shocked to hear I had had a liver transplant – it’s not something I hide – but it’s great to raise awareness about the issue,” Mr Dempsey said.


  1. I wish I’d known about this event in advance because I too would have come along. I’m sure it would have been a very interesting talk. Pleased you are doing so well Ian Dempsey.
    I am involved with the Alpha-1 Association of Australia and some of our members have had liver transplants, or are waiting for a transplant or have paased before they received one because of the genetic condition alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Some of these are children. Jenni Nankervis RC of Canterbury

  2. Become an organ transplant donor now – you might not plan to die but if you do you can make a difference to so many peoples’ lives.

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