Conn. fire captain in need of liver donor
Mansfield Fire Department Capt. Ted Morrissette, a nearly 40-year fire service veteran, has battled an autoimmune disease for the last 18 years
The Chronicle, Willimantic, Conn.
MANSFIELD, Conn. — Over the years, Ted Morrissette has been a dedicated member of the Mansfield Fire Department, where he has worked for 39 years and is currently a captain.
But after battling an autoimmune disease for 18 years, he recently became too sick to work.
With the help of co-workers, Morrissette, who has primary biliary cholangitis ( PBC), is currently searching for a living donor who would donate part of their liver. “ It was not even an issue until a year ago, when the symptoms started showing up,” the 57- year- old said.
Morrissette, who works full time for the Mansfield Fire Department, has been on medical leave since April.
“He’s been not just positive, he’s been quite strong,” Mansfield Fire Chief Fran Raiola said.
Morrissette is the department’s training officer, a role that requires a large time commitment.
Raiola said Morrissette is a caring, loving husband, father and family person and “ an all- around good guy.”
PBC causes progressive destruction of the bile ducts, causing liver damage.
Early symptoms of the disease include fatigue, itchy skin, dry eyes and dry mouth.
As the disease progresses, the following symptoms can occur, as well as several others: pain in the upper- right abdomen, swelling of the spleen, bone, muscle or joint pain, high cholesterol and weight loss.
Morrissette’s PBC recently progressed to cirrhosis, or scarring of liver tissue.
Information about Morris-sette’s condition and need for a liver donor was put on the department’s Facebook page, as well as the fire academy listserv and other resources.
“There have been some inquiries for people to be tested for potential donors, but they do not have a confirmed donor at this point,” Raiola said.
According to the Facebook post, Morrissette is on the transplant list, but is not considered sick enough to get a liver from a deceased donor anytime soon.
The initial requirements to be a donor for him are: Type O blood, generally healthy, under 33 years old and, ideally, a body mass index of less than 30.
There are many risks involved with the donor’s surgery, including infection, nausea, incisional hernia, pneumonia, blood clots, hemorrhaging, a potential need for blood transfusion and death.
Mansfield firefighter Joe Burnham, who is president of the fire department union, said he hopes Morrissette gets a liver donation “as soon as possible, so he can get back to work.”
“He has his struggles from day to day, but he’s got a pretty good attitude,” he said.
Morrissette joined the department as a volunteer firefighter at the age of 18 and became full time in 2010.
Burnham said Morrissette was “pretty quiet” about his disease until he couldn’t work any longer.
“He loves the job,” he said. “He loves every part of what he does.”
Those interested in being tested as a potential donor for Morrisette should call the Yale Transplantation and Immunology department at 866-925-3897. Those with questions can email Heather Landry at email@example.com.
©2020 The Chronicle (Willimantic, Conn.)