Walter Mencken 3:39 p.m., June 18
If you’re in the liver repair and replacement business, set up shop in one of America’s “drunkest cities.”
In the case of La Jolla’s UCSD, that just happens to be Las Vegas.
Earlier this year Vegas placed 11th on a list of America’s drunkest cities produced by Men’s Health Magazine.
The city earned its ranking by sporting high mortality rates from liver disease, deaths in DUI crashes, lots of binge drinking, and plenty of DUI arrests.
(Modesto was 12th, and Fresno came out first, with Reno close behind.)
Spare livers and the people who install them have historically been hard to come by on the Strip.
In July 2005, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Las Vegas was the biggest city in the country without any liver-transplant program at all.
Enter UCSD, which has announced the opening of a new Vegas branch of its Center for Hepatobiliary Disease and Abdominal Transplantation.
“I am so grateful to be able to return to the Las Vegas community to practice advanced liver care and to provide local and regional tertiary care for the patients in this region,” according to today’s UCSD news release about the clinic quoting Dr. Robert Gish, billed as a world-renowned hepatologist.
“Even if you have been told that your liver disease is untreatable, there is hope for you through UC San Diego Health System experts who will come here to care for you.”
The release continues: “Gish will be joined by Lisa Richards, NP, and Anthony Martinez, MD, in the Las Vegas-based liver practice, and treat and manage patients with liver disease, in conjunction with each patient’s local health care provider.
"Patients who need specialized consultative care for liver transplantation or the surgical care of liver cancer will be seamlessly referred to UC San Diego Health System in San Diego, CA.”
According to a UCSD release, Gish arrived on campus just last year:
“Prior to UC San Diego, Gish was medical director of the Liver Disease Management and Transplant Program at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, California as well as Division Chief of the Section on Hepatology and Complex Gastroenterology within the Physicians Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center.
"He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Nevada in Reno and an Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.”