By SCOTT NORTH and JIM HALEY
Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Krider, who came close to dying five years ago after a serious blood infection, was scheduled to have a liver transplant Wednesday night, officials said.
Krider, 57, was ready for surgery at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, said Doug McNall, Krider’s chief administrative deputy.
Krider has been on a liver transplant waiting list since 1995 after a combination of E. coli infection and internal bleeding nearly took his life. He was then just four months into his first term as prosecutor, but quickly recovered sufficiently to return to work.
The damage to his liver was permanent, however, and its function has steadily degraded, Krider said last week. Although Krider said his health problems have not hampered his ability to do his job, doctors early this month gave him a pager and placed him on stand-by status for a transplant.
Krider said the good news is that enough donor organs are available that he will receive a transplant before his degraded liver function seriously compromises his health.
"I’m really quite healthy," he said.
Krider said his doctors have told him 85 percent of liver transplant patients recover fully. He figures the odds are better in his case because he’s getting the surgery while still comparatively healthy.
Krider said he has been told to expect a hospital stay of anywhere from 10 days to three weeks and then several months of after-care. However, he expects to be working from home within a matter of weeks after the surgery.
Krider in 1995 said he had no clear explanation for his medical problems, but openly acknowledged that lifestyle may have played a role. During the 1960s and 1970s, Krider said, he lived up to the image of a hard-working, hard-drinking attorney.
He said that he hasn’t touched alcohol since deciding to run for prosecutor in late 1994.
Snohomish County’s top administrator, Executive Bob Drewel, who was hospitalized twice last year with physical ailments, said: "I wish him the very best."
County Council Chairwoman Barbara Cothern said she was stunned Wednesday when she heard about the pending operation.
"That’s awful," Cothern said. "I trust he will have good care and will get through this just fine."
Although Krider said his chances of survival and recovery are excellent, he also made clear how he hopes his job is filled if he should die or become incapacitated.
Under the selection process spelled out by state law, the county GOP, Krider’s party, is supposed to submit three names to the council for selection.
"I don’t think there are three Republicans in my office," Krider said. "I’m pretty sure of that."
Nevertheless, he said it would be best for the office and the county if his successor is chosen from among the deputies on staff.
Cothern said there would be no shortcuts taken if a successor has to be chosen.
"We’d have to go through the regular process on that," she said. "But I’m not thinking that’s going to happen. I’m expecting Jim back."
Krider said he’s expecting to return to work, too. He said his chief criminal, civil and administrative deputies, and other seasoned staff, will work together to keep the prosecutor’s office running smoothly.
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