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Mercy Physician, Dr. David Super, Utilizes 'An Indirect Approach' to Promote Donation

Posted June 13, 2013 in News Category
superoffice-15cropmasterloresThe staff at OB/GYN Health Partners created a “congratulations” and “get well soon” card for Gabi after learning she received a transplant.

Dr. David Super wanted to do something — anything — to help the situation. He had little control of it, and needed to help in some way. His 17-year-old daughter, Gabi, had just been added to the liver transplant waiting list in July 2012. David and his wife, Missy, knew the day was coming since she was diagnosed with idiopathic sclerosing cholangitis (ISC) at 10 years old. 

“It was tough because we had no control,” said Dr. Super, whose daughter received her lifesaving liver in June 2013. “None. Zero. I couldn’t control when she would get a transplant, but by getting really active in promoting organ donation, I felt I could do something.”

Dr. Super is a partner at OB/GYN Health Partners in Sunset Hills and a co-director of the Robotic Surgery Division and clinical instructor in the Department of OB/GYN at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. One of five physicians at the Sunset Hills practice, Dr. Super sees hundreds of patients each week. Since early 2013, he has used this platform to increase awareness of organ and tissue donation, and the dire need for donors in America. 

“Albeit an indirect approach, I finally felt as though I was doing something by increasing awareness of organ donation and educating myself and others,” Dr. Super said. “With regards to my daughter, it didn’t change anything, but at least from a global standpoint, it helped.”

super-22webGabi, who turned 17 and received a lifesaving liver transplant in June, hopes to return to high school in the fall.

The welcome packet for new patients includes a cover letter in which Dr. Super encourages registration and explains Gabi’s need for a liver transplant. Inside the office, each of the 15 exam rooms at OB/GYN Health Partners has organ and tissue donation brochures and a poster. Brochures are also available in the waiting room and at the counters. In addition, the staff wears Donate Life t-shirts on specific dates throughout each month. 

More than 20 people have joined the registry through his office. “I have a conversation every day about it. That’s always part of my conversation with patients,” Dr. Super said. “If I see 50 patients, I’ll ask every single one of them if they’re an organ donor.” 

Since his daughter was added to the transplant list, Dr. Super has learned of two children he delivered that have similar terminal liver conditions as his daughter. “You have to understand that these liver conditions are rare,” he said. “Statistically, the likelihood of these conditions in children is about one in 100,000. When we talked with the specialists at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, they said they’ll see a few cases each year. For those cases to be people I know, children I’ve delivered, when I’m someone who has a child listed … it’s just unbelievable. It’s sad.” 

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