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Sue Bush
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Former Selectman Needs Transplant

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, October 23, 2005

Former Florida Selectman Timothy Bartlett is in need of a second liver transplant surgery.[Photo by Jake Dabrowksi]
Florida – Timothy Bartlett, 50, left his mountain town home early during the morning on Oct. 23, bound for the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis and, if a matching liver can be found, the chance to undergo a second life-saving transplant surgery.

Bartlett, a former town selectman, was accompanied by his wife Janet, who is employed by Williams College in Williamstown. The couple has two adult children.

Bartlett underwent a liver transplant about 16 years ago at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, after being diagnosed with sclerosing cholangitis, a progressive liver disease that can result in liver failure, said Cheryl Dabrowski, Bartlett’s sister-in-law.

The transplant was successful and Bartlett was able to return to work, she said. His health remained good until February, she said.

“He was in very good health for a number of years,” Dabrowski said during a recent telephone interview. “He’s never smoked, he hasn’t drank [alcoholic beverages]. He went back to work at [General Electric Co.] after the transplant, and then he got laid off. He’d been working at temporary jobs since then.”

No Rhyme Or Reason

But during February, Bartlett began feeling ill and subsequent medical tests revealed that sclerosing cholangitis was again affecting Bartlett’s liver. What, if anything, specifically caused the disease to return is unknown, Dabrowski said.

“There’s no rhyme or reason for this,” she said.

Bartlett’s health deteriorated quickly and he’s been unable to work since his diagnosis. A transplant was almost immediately recommended, and Bartlett’s name was added to the New England Organ Bank and the United Network of Organ Sharing bank in May.

However, no organs have been available to Bartlett and Bartlett’s physicians at the Boston-based hospital advised that Bartlett travel from New England and the Northeast to seek medical intervention in the hopes that a liver might become available more quickly.

“Tim has to have a transplant to survive,” Dabrowski said.

Benefit Planned

The family has healthcare insurance through Janet Bartlett’s employer, but the couple is likely to have to remain in Indiana for a minimum of six weeks, Dabrowksi said. The loss of Timothy Bartlett’s income coupled with Janet Bartlett’s expected wage interruption and expenses associated with staying in Indiana are causing financial hardship, Dabrowski said.

A benefit spaghetti supper is scheduled for Nov. 3 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the BountiFare Restaurant on Route 8 in Adams. All proceeds will be donated to Timothy and Janet Bartlett, Dabrowski said.

Tickets cost $10, and may be purchased in advance or at the door. Advance tickets will be available at the BountiFare restaurant beginning this week, and may also be acquired by calling Dabrowksi at 413-743-5899.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation but is unable to attend the benefit supper may send contributions to the Adams Police Association, 4 School St., Adams, Mass. 01220. Checks should be designated to the Timothy Bartlett Fund.

There is no definitive cause for sclerosing cholangitis, according to information available on various Internet web sites including National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health sites.

The disease is diagnosed more frequently in men and is usually found in people between ages 30 and 60. Individuals may be affected by the illness for several years before symptoms develop. Symptoms include itching, fatigue, and jaundice, which causes a yellowish cast to appear on eyes or akin. The disease causes bile ducts located inside and outside of the liver to become inflamed and scarred; as scarring increases, the ducts become blocked. Liver failure may result from scarring and blockages.

Additional information about liver disease may be acquired at a www.liverfoundation.org Internet web site

Information about the United Network of Organ Sharing is available at a www.unos.org web site and information about the New England Organ Bank is available at a www.neob.org web site.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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