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One liver saves two lives

By Brandigal (Donna)     Mar 20, 2007 in Health
One liver was used to save the lives of two people, a 21 year old and an 8 month old baby.
Maggie Catherwood, 21, was waiting for her liver transplant. When it arrived she was asked if she would share part of it with an 8 month old baby, Allison Brown, who was very sick. Of course she said yes. She said I can't imagine anyone saying no,"
Maggie was told she had Wilson's disease at the age of 21. This disease makes the liver unable to get rid of the copper in food. So the copper was building up in her liver and killing it.
Alison's jaundice kept getting worse. At the age of 3 1/2 months, they told her mother she had biliary atresia. This means she was born without all her major bile ducts. Her liver shut down.
They both went on the waiting list for liver transplants. There is about 17,000 on the list. Just for children alone, about 13% of young children die while on the waiting list. 41 babies just last year died. They did not need to die because livers can be split because they are not like any other organ. A piece of a healthy liver will grow into a whole liver in about a month. This is allowing surgeons to split livers so that more people are able to receive the transplants they need to save their lives. So this way two lives are being saved by the one donation. You also can donate part of your liver while alive.
Allison Browns mother is so grateful that Maggie was willing to give up part of the liver donated to her to save her babies life.
Not all centers are able to split liver donations. They want to mandate it that all transplant centers be notified when a potentially splittable liver is donated and that the search for a matching recipient identify those willing to accept a partial organ.
Not all livers are able to be split. The liver has to be very healthy.
Both Maggie and Allison are doing well. Maggie is now at home recuperating and Allison is still in the hospital for observation but her jaundice is clearing up. They can now see the white of her eyes.
They both face some risk of long term rejection but as of now the outlook looks very bright for them both.
Organ donation is so needed. I am so glad they are doing well. I hope everyone believes in organ donation. If one life is saved through the donation this is great. But now they are able to save two lives with one donation.
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