6:56 AM PDT, July 17, 2021
For Philip Hanks’ 50th birthday, he received five extraordinary gifts: a new liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas and kidney.
The father of six, who works as an IT professional, was a healthy bodybuilder, but then he started noticing his body changing. “I began dropping weight rapidly. I was always tired,” Phillip said.
During a routine physical for life insurance in 2007, he got confirmation that something was very wrong. Phillip needed a new liver.
“My first liver transplant did not go well,” he explained. “I wound up in a coma for a week, and they had to massage my heart with their hand because I crashed during the surgery.”
Despite the difficult start, Phillip recovered from that surgery and lived an active life. Then in 2019, extreme pain sent him to the hospital, where he stayed for over six weeks for tests.
After a consultation with Indiana-based Dr. Richard Mangus and his nurse practitioner Alison Brown Phillip, Phillip got some bad news. “Dr. Mangus told me, ‘No, you need a liver, a kidney, upper and lower bowel, and a stomach,’” Phillip said. “And that’s when I kind of freaked out.”
Even with about 275 multi-organ transplants to his credit, Mangus said he was still concerned about transplanting five new organs into Philip.
“When I saw and read through his records, I said, ‘This is crazy. This is going to be very high risk. And I don’t know that we should do this,’” Mangus said.
But after meeting Phillip and his wife, Mangus was convinced that if anybody could get through this surgery, it would be him.
“Transplant is the ultimate team sport. There are so many people involved, and you all have to work together,” he said.
“When it comes to the best thing for the patient, we all get together. We all come to an agreement. We all work hard for that patient.”
Phillip’s 50th birthday present—five working organs—took months of recovery and community support. And now, Phillip hopes to encourage people who are going through similar medical challenges and hopes to inspire others to become organ donors.
And Phillip’s primary message for those is to have faith. “First and foremost, have faith. God is still in the miracle business, and business is good. I’m a prime example of that.”