Friday 31 May 2013 19.57 EDT
Lou Reed recovering after liver transplant
Musician, 71, underwent life-saving surgery last month in Cleveland, says wife Laurie Anderson
Lou Reed, the US songwriter, poet and vocalist with the Velvet Underground, had a liver transplant last month, according to his wife, the musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson.
"It's as serious as it gets. He was dying. You don't get it for fun," said Anderson, who added that her husband was now on the road to recovery following the life-saving surgery.
Reed, 71, cancelled a number of concerts in April and had surgery in Cleveland rather than in his native New York due to what Anderson described as the "dysfunctional" hospitals in his home town. She said in an interview with the Times: "I don't think he'll ever totally recover from this, but he'll certainly be back to doing [things] in a few months. He's already working and doing t'ai chi. I'm very happy. It's a new life for him."
The couple, above, have been together for more than 20 years but got married in 2008 following a spur-of-the-moment decision while talking on the phone.
Anderson, whose 1981 single, O Superman, reached number two in the British charts, spoke of her awe for the operation which saved Reed's life.
"You send out two planes – one for the donor, one for the recipient – at the same time. You bring the donor in live, you take him off life support. It's a technological feat.
"I was completely awestruck. I find certain things about technology truly, deeply inspiring."
Reed surprised fans in New York in March when he appeared at a playback of his seminal album Transformer.
Best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, Reed has also had a successful solo career spanning a number of decades, producing hits such as Walk on the Wild Side in 1972. Recent collaborations have included a 2011 album with the rock group Metallica.
Anderson is due to perform at the Barbican in London this month with the string ensemble, Kronos Quartet.
[quote] "I don't think he'll ever totally recover from this
I sure hope he doesn't.
Fuck you, R1.
Lou is simply a national treasure.
Wife Laurie Anderson? I'm glad the old boy finally chose the right team.
Lou is an insufferable bore who thinks his shit don't stink. Whatever talent he had was flushed down the shitter long ago.
The Times of London broke this story with an interview with Laurie Anderson (see link). Unfortunately, the story is behind a paywall. Do any of you bitches have a subscription to ToL? If you do and can paste the story here, I'd be grateful.
What do DLers think about him not having the operation in New York and choosing to go to Cleveland instead?
Look. I have nothing against Lou Reed. I even went thru a period where I really liked his music. But giving him a liver transplant is a waste of a liver transplant. I'm surprised he's still around.
The Cleveland Clinic is better than any New York hospital.
[quote]The Cleveland Clinic is better than any New York hospital.
Yes, but there are probably also better odds of landing an organ at a transplant center that isn't in a major city.
Same reason Steve Jobs got his liver in Tennessee.
It's nice when the well-connected get to work advantages the rest of us don't.
The Voice of the Night
[quote]Reed, 71, cancelled a number of concerts in April and had surgery in Cleveland rather than in his native New York due to what Anderson described as the "dysfunctional" hospitals in his home town.
Meaning the New York hospitals wouldn't give a fresh liver to a 71 year-old?
Those two can afford to send out two planes--one for the donor and one for the recipient? They've got that kind of money? On top of that the funds for a liver transplant operation? What kind of insurance do they have? That's a lot of moolah if they have to pay for it out of pocket. Where do they get that kind of cash?
[quote]Those two can afford to send out two planes--one for the donor and one for the recipient? They've got that kind of money?
The transplant center does the procurement. It's the responsibility of the patient to be at the hospital within a certain length of time after the organ becomes available.
Which is why people who have enough money to at least charter a jet once (or, like Steve Jobs, own their own) can put themselves on lists at multiple transplant centers.
Rules are things for the 99%.
I'm R11, VoTN. The Cleveland hospital shells out the money to fly in the donor? Why would they do that? Do they get reimbursed somehow? From Reed/Anderson? The scenario I'm picturing implies Anderson and Reed have Jobs and Hagman kind of money, which I'm assuming they don't.
I've liked both of these artists over the years so I wish them well, but it's hard for me to get my head around the fact that they have this kind of money.
[quote]I'm [R11], VoTN. The Cleveland hospital shells out the money to fly in the donor?
They don't fly the donor in, they fly a surgical team out.
Essentially, a donor becomes available, it's run through the UNOS (United Network For Organ Sharing) database, and the organs are allocated to recipients. Then teams from all the hospitals that are going to be performing the transplants fly in to wherever the donor is, and they all take turns harvesting the organs. Then they fly back to the transplant center and hand off the organ to the surgical team doing the transplant.
To the best of my knowledge, that end of things is all handled by MediCare.
Anyway, there are, I think, a dozen different regions that are handled by UNOS. They tend to be serviced by one or two major transplant centers. For New York, I think it's Presbyterian, for whatever region Ohio is in, it's the Cleveland Clinic.
Let's say it's two weeks from today, and I live in New York City. I need a liver. One becomes available that matches me. I'm only allowed to be on waiting lists at hospitals that I can get to during the time the organ is still viable, so, since I'm an urban dweller without a car, I'm basically limited to NYC. If someone has more money (or a private jet) s/he can put himself on multiple lists, because they would be able to afford to fly out ASAP. I doubt Lou Reed has private jet money, but I bet he does have either A) charter-a-private-jet money, or B) friends who have a jet. So, he can go on multiple lists.
The Voice of the Night
VOTN, the answer to (A) is around $4000-$8000. Not all that much, really.
[quote]VOTN, the answer to (A) is around $4000-$8000. Not all that much, really.
Well, yes and no. Probably not all that much for Lou Reed, but probably way too much for someone who needs a kidney and has been on disability because s/he's had to have dialysis every other day.
The Voice of the Night
I didn't think it was fair that a lifelong alkie like Larry Hagman was given a new liver ahead of the less fortunate, either.
Get used to it, non 1 percenters. It will only worsen. Eventually they will sacrifice thrird world slaves so they can live longer.
The world is their oyster.
The lifestyle of the person who is receiving the organ doesn't really concern me so much, but I think they should limit people to being on one list and one list only.
Someone in Tennessee who didn't have metastatic cancer is probably in his or her grave because Steve Jobs wanted to throw him money around when his own witch doctors couldn't cure his very early, rare, and treatable cancer.
I think it still would have bugged me if he'd gotten it done in California, but not as much.
When I mentioned this thread to my husband (he knows my feelings about this), his first reaction was "Don't worry, I'm sure Lou Reed probably still isn't using heroin."
The Voice of the Night
How did I miss that Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson were married?!
I thought they had a palsy/fag hag relationship?!
Considering all it had been through, that liver should have had a decent funeral and burial with a nice tombstone. Talk about suffering through abuse. Not to mention being carted around to all those self-referential, smug get-togethers.
My best friend (an alcoholic if ever there was one) had to be treated for some sort of hepatic liver infection, and the doctor told him, "You know this means you can never have a liver transplant. You'll just die from the cancer."
I love Lou Reed, but how the fuck can an ex-junkie get bumped up the list?
What a waste of a good liver giving it to Reed. I hope when he leaves the hospital a pack of wild dogs rips him open and eats it on him.
I felt the same way about Mickey Mantle, a dedicated lifelong alcoholic.
The chief of a transplant unit told me they require recipients to pretty much sign a blood oath that they won't return to the drugs / alcohol/ cigarettes that made them sick. He said in spite of that, they often start using again when they feel better.
I've got the Chianti! Who's got the beans? I understand the discard already was considerably marinated, so we can get started right away!
Lou Reed married a woman?
Laurie Anderson wants to be a beard?
To hell with the transplant politics (and I think artists deserve them more than say retired ball players.)but LOU married a WOMAN?
Zak, Lou has been married to three women. To an airline stewardess whose name I don't remember, to Sylvia Morales, and now to Laurie. I see Lou and Laurie around NY, and don't envy her -- she has to watch him like he's an unruly kid and does so with an expression of saintly patience.
Is he drinking a lot? I doubt he's still an addict but he doesn't have a long time to live, period.
I can only imagine how nasty he would be to live with. I don't envy her.
Hey, sugar, take a walk on the Bile Side...
He may no longer be a junkie, but is he on methadone? Because that is toxic to the liver as well.
I guess if Dick Cheney gets a heart Lou should get a liver. At least he's not a mass murderer.
[quote]I guess if Dick Cheney gets a heart Lou should get a liver. At least he's not a mass murderer.
You've never listened to Metal Machine Music, have you?
[quote]she has to watch him like he's an unruly kid and does so with an expression of saintly patience.
Ten years ago they used to frequent a, now closed, Tribeca restaurant where a friend was a waiter. My friend told me that Reed would get drunk ever time, and the more he'd drink the nastier he'd get with the staff. And Anderson would politely apologize to the staff, while trying to stop Reed from having another glass. Even then I though, she must be really in love, or a saint.
Or Laurie is with him because he's much richer & more famous than she could ever be.
Laurie Anderson is just another enabler.
I heard that his new liver already wants one day off a week.
Our third grade school pageant performed Walk On the Wild Side back in 1973.
[quote]Or Laurie is with him because he's much richer & more famous than she could ever be.
I'd say that if she's performing at the Barbican this month while he's reduced to doing collaborations with Metallica, her career is doing a lot better than his.
(VOTN: Thanks for your comments, very interesting.)
I doubt it's a love match. My guess is Laurie decided it would be a shame for a rock and roll legend to die alone of neglect so she was going to look after him. And Lou always liked to have a woman around.
r39 Reed is a 1%er - his worth is $14 million according to celeb net worth. Hers isn't even listed so I imagine she's worth tops $200k or $250k
VOTN at R15, Anderson said in the interview that they brought the donor in live via plane. Which I thought was strange because surely the donor had multiple organs -- is she perhaps saying they paid to have the donor brought in live specifically for Reed, then had the surgical teams fly in to Cleveland to get the other organs from there?
[quote]VOTN at [R15], Anderson said in the interview that they brought the donor in live via plane. Which I thought was strange because surely the donor had multiple organs -- is she perhaps saying they paid to have the donor brought in live specifically for Reed, then had the surgical teams fly in to Cleveland to get the other organs from there?
Then they must have paid for it themselves, because there's no way a hospital would fly a beating-heart cadaver to a transplant center.
You can get a surgical team, and then a surgical team plus and organ in a a cooler on a regular Lear jet. You would need an air ambulance to transport a beating-heart cadaver.
The only way I could see that happening would be maybe (MAYBE) if all of the organs were going to the Cleveland Clinic. But that seems massively improbable to me. Assuming the donor was completely healthy, you'd get six organs (heart, liver, two lungs, two kidneys) and assorted tissues. That would mean six transplant teams going at the same time, plus at least one doing the harvesting.
Not to mention the fact that one of the reasons you leave the donor where he/she was found is because s/he most likely has family that would like to have a funeral.
The Voice of the Night
It is vile that an old man got a donor liver. Fuck Lou Reed.
Once a human hits the age of 55/60, no damn donated organs. All adult donor organs should go to those ages 50 and younger.
Old people shouldn't be allowed to get them. You've had a long and full life? Great! Now it's your time to die. Deal with it.
Thanks VOTN, I was wondering about what Anderson said, and your posts make a lot more sense than she does. I love her to death but I think she's probably very confused about the process.
Maybe the universe is telling you it is [bold]YOUR [/bold] time to die, R44.
Have some chocolate and leave this plane.
Larry Hagman got moved to the front of the line for his new liver even though he was a drunk.
People seem shocked that rich celebrities get preferential treatment ... is this news to anyone?