Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baby's new liver from Mom is working

Luke Tanner Witt, 15 months, received a life-saving liver transplant donated by his mother, Leah Kent, background, at Rady Children's Hospital. (David Brooks/Union-Tribune)

BY JOHN WILKENS The San Diego Union Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Leah Kent gave life to her son when he was born 15 months ago. Then she did it again, in late July, by donating part of her liver to him.

Mother and son were the happy guests of honor at Rady Children’s Hospital Monday morning for a Thanksgiving week news conference aimed at raising awareness of the need for organ transplants.

Luke was born with a rare metabolic disorder that caused his liver to malfunction. He had several life-threatening episodes, beginning at about 6 months old, He was put on the waiting list for a cadaver organ, but when his condition worsened, doctors looked for a living donor.

Tests showed his mother was a good candidate. In an 11-hour operation, doctors removed part of her liver and transplanted it in her son.

“I was all for it immediately,” Kent said. “Most parents would jump at the chance to do whatever they could.”

Both mother and son, who live in Carmel Valley, are doing well, said to Dr. Ajai Khanna, one of the surgeons. Kent’s liver has re-grown. Luke’s long-term survival and quality of life should be similar to his peers.

Khanna said living-donor operations, once rare, have become more commonplace in the past decade.

He and Kent urged San Diegans to consider giving “the gift of life” to someone through organ donations.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at ShareYourLife.org or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

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