After two liver transplants, she’s focused on helping other transplant patients.

After Two Liver Transplants, She’s Focused on Helping other Transplant Patients.

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Tiara Hobert Tolson underwent successful liver transplant surgery at MedStar Health.

Soon after 26-year-old Prince George’s County resident Tiara Hobert-Tolson was born, she was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare condition that causes a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. The blockage can cause serious damage to the liver and, if left untreated, can lead to death. The treatment is a liver transplant, so when Tiara was almost a year old, her own mother donated a portion of her liver so her daughter could get the transplant she needed.

But by 2008, Tiara’s liver was failing again. She had gotten mononucleosis, so the immune system-suppressing medications that protected her transplanted liver had to be reduced until she recovered. One side effect of reduced immune suppression can be organ rejection.

“Tiara had the classic symptoms of liver failure when I first saw her when she was 11,” says MedStar Georgetown University Hospital pediatric transplant hepatologist Stuart Kaufman, MD. “She underwent a successful second liver transplant, receiving a full liver from a deceased donor, and is a healthy young woman today.”

Choosing a transplant center that performs a high volume of liver transplants has a significant impact on outcomes, which is especially important for people having a second transplant. Explains Cal Matsumoto, MD, MedStar Georgetown transplant surgeon, “Second transplants are generally much more difficult than primary transplants because of the scar tissue and the fact that people are extremely ill. It makes the surgery, anesthesia, and post-op care more difficult, so an experienced team is essential.”

As Tiara grew older, her care was transitioned to Arul Thomas, MD, an adult transplant hepatologist at MedStar Georgetown. “We have a pediatric to adult transition program that addresses the unique challenges patients like Tiara face as they enter adulthood. We work closely with our pediatric colleagues to share care and knowledge. Balancing the care of a liver transplant graft with the usual life challenges of a 20-something is no easy task. We help shoulder the burden to allow these unique patients to live as close to normal lives as possible,” says Dr. Thomas.

Thanks to her second transplant and ongoing care from the transplant hepatology team, Tiara is healthy and focusing on her goals. She’s a busy entrepreneur with her own line of plant-based haircare products, a passion she discovered when she was in the hospital after her second transplant.

“My family would bring me dolls and I would spend all day styling their hair,” she remembers. “It gave me a real sense of peace and happiness while I was recovering.”

In addition to her business, Tiara also established a non-profit, the Royalty Transplant Foundation. By leveraging her personal experiences, she aims to offer mental and emotional support to patients and their families. Sharing her story and providing essential resources could significantly help many people navigate the challenges of their transplant journeys.

“I’m here to inspire and uplift those in need of healing and help people learn about liver transplant. It helps to see someone who’s been through what you’re going through and is healthy and living their life. If you trust God and the doctors and embrace the journey, there’s a life-changing reward at the end of the process,” Tiara believes.

Visit to learn about our liver transplant program at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call 202-444-3700.

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