Patricia Arroyo’s Path to Healing: A Liver Transplant Success Story at St. Luke’s Medical Center

Posted on Sep 28, 2023

Patti Arroyo (center), joined by her children Tia (bottom left) and Cirese (bottom right),  and St. Luke's dedicated team that contributed to the successful transplant surgery (Dr. Juliet Cervantes, Dr. Jonathan Navarro, Dr. Theo Genesis Tagaytay, Dr. Grace Anne Herbosa, etc.), and St. Luke’s President and CEO Dr. Dennis P. Serrano (first line, rightmost)

Scars have different meanings to different people; they can represent strength, resilience, and survival for some, while others associate them with painful memories or cosmetic concerns. For Patricia Arroyo, a seasoned radio and TV journalist from Guam, a scar from a seemingly innocuous sidewalk fall became a turning point in her life. 

"This trophy right here is the thing that said something is wrong with me," Patricia said as she showed the St. Luke's team the scar she sustained on her leg. "I just left my office but stopped to do an errand. And when I got out of my car and stepped up on the sidewalk, I fell." 

She called her doctor, and within 24 hours, she was diagnosed with Cirrhosis. 

Cirrhosis represents an advanced phase of liver scarring. When the liver is injured due to viral infections, metabolic disorders, or other factors like medications, it initiates a self-repair mechanism leading to the development of scar tissue. Scar tissues replace healthy liver tissues and prevent the liver from functioning normally. In its advanced stages, Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure. 

As a media personality with a hectic schedule, Patricia admits to frequently overlooking her own physical well-being. "I thought I was just tired. A lot was going on at that time," Patricia said as she recounted the day she started feeling symptoms. "I was feeling more and more fatigued every day. I did a 4-hour radio show, which is also on TV. I can't hide my face, so I would slap on a lot of makeup, get in there, and do what I have to do." 

Cirrhosis often has no symptoms until the liver damage becomes severe. Patricia's decision to seek medical attention was prompted by fatigue and abdominal enlargement, common indicators of the condition. 


The path to St. Luke's Medical Center 

Patricia had no idea of the impact of her diagnosis. So, when her doctor told her that a liver transplant was the only option to save her life, she was overwhelmed with emotions, from fear to hope. She was given a list of options where she could get her life-saving transplant. "St. Luke's was an easy choice," Patricia said. 

St. Luke's Liver Disease and Transplant Center is the Philippines' most prestigious facility for liver ailments. It provides a wide array of advanced diagnostic and treatment services. By integrating top-tier medical equipment from St. Luke's Medical Center with a multidisciplinary approach, the Center is renowned for its excellence in detecting, diagnosing, and managing liver diseases, ultimately enhancing patient survival and quality of life. 

A series of tests found two of her children and Patti's youngest sister as potential matches. Ultimately, her daughter Tia Bundang started a GoFundMe page for her mother's surgery and became a donor. 

"At first, I didn't quite know what to expect. It started with just a few tests. However, as I went along, I realized how thorough they were, and at every turn, there were more and more tests. I felt like a pin cushion for a month and a half. I didn't anticipate the extent of the testing, but I'm grateful for St. Luke's thoroughness," Tia said. 


Compassionate care beyond boundaries 

As international patients, Patricia's family encountered no obstacles in their journey to St. Luke's. While navigating the logistics of visas, they received unwavering support throughout. Patricia emphasized that she wasn't just a patient; she was treated with prompt attention and empathy. 

St. Luke's Medical Center's compassionate approach was evident at every step. "On Mother's Day, they even gave me a thoughtful gift, which meant a lot. When you're a mother in a foreign country, in a hospital, alone in the room on Mother's Day, it truly shows that they care. This level of compassion and support throughout the journey was a consistent thread that made everything, at the very least, bearable," Patti said. 

Her daughter, Tia, is also deeply touched by the level of care she was given even after the transplant. "Even as I moved on to the next month, St. Luke's continued to ensure I was doing well. They want to make sure I'm okay, and it's reassuring. They said they don't want a donor whose life will change drastically afterward; we want you to stay the same." 

Today, Patricia and Tia have successfully recovered, thanks to the unwavering support of their family and the exceptional care they received at St. Luke's Medical Center. Patricia's story serves as a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the compassionate care that defines St. Luke's, emphasizing that even in the face of life's greatest challenges, there is always hope for healing and recovery. 


To know more about the treatments offered by St. Luke's Medical Center, please call St. Luke's Product Information Hub at 0919-057-7744, 0998-534-2768, 0928-520-0239, 0947-993-0471 (call), 0919-160-7744 (text), or email [email protected].