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Doctor goes above and beyond to save his patient and friend

Dr. Marc Chalaby donated part of his liver to save a longtime patient's life.

SAN ANTONIO — Doctors save lives everyday. To them it's routine, but to their patients they're often considered heroes.

"I knew God had healed me from hepatitis C, and so for me there was my liver. Nothing else would happen with my liver, basically," said 68-year-old Serena Irons. 

She was able to beat hepatitis C, but the disease left her with another life-threatening problem. Her primary care doctor, Dr. Manuel Quinones, told her she wouldn't survive without a liver transplant.  

"I was able to convince her that her only hope to continue in this life was to consider a transplant," Quinones told KENS 5. 

But because there were still several names above Irons the transplant list, she was going to need a living donor. Someone special to step up and give a part of their own organ to keep her alive. 

"Why would a person do this for me? You know, this is major surgery," she said. 

Irons joined a waiting list for living donors through the University Health Liver Transplant Institute. Shortly after, a coordinator called her and said an anonymous donor wanted to help her by being her living donor. 

The day before her transplant, she found out who her savior was: her longtime pulmonologist, and now close friend, Dr. Marc Chalaby. 

"All I said is, 'Are you the one?' And he said, 'Yes.'" 

"I was worried that she was not going to accept it from me, being her doctor, being a father," Chalaby said. "And so I didn't want her to know."

Chalaby is used to saving lives daily, and says being a living donor is just the right thing to do.

"Just her life...totally dedicated to her children and the church community, everything she's done, you know, I couldn't think of a better person to donate anything to," he said.

 "I call him my Superman," Irons added. "My superhero, you know, and now we're connected for life where we're were a family."