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Health Team

Child receives life-saving liver transplant

Posted April 22, 2015

A public service announcement for Donate Life NC shares the story of a lively girl named Daisy.

Daisy was born in August 2009.

"It was a few days after we got her home from the hospital that we realized something was not quite right," said Jen, Daisy's mother.

Daisy's skin was turning yellow. Their pediatrician referred the family to Duke,  where Daisy was diagnosed with a liver disease called Bilary Atresia. Her bile ducts were inflamed, causing the acidic digestive juice to be trapped in the liver.

"In at least a third of cases it progresses to liver failure and the only treatment for that is a transplant," said Dr. Bradley Collins, a Duke transplant surgeon.

After waiting six weeks for a donor liver, the family finally got the call.

"A liver transplant is when someone makes a hole in your belly and they put a new liver in and take out the old one," said Daisy.

Daisy was only 9 months old at the time of the surgery.

"I think that's how I got my scar and I love it. I think its beautiful," she said.

According to doctors, Daisy's liver came from an adult donor whose liver was likely divided and used to save a second life.

The family still thinks about who that donor was and about all of the people who have made the same decision.

"First of all, gratitude for everyone that signs up, whether they end up becoming donors or not, just taking that first step," said Jay, Daisy's father.

The family said that is why it participated in the video - so that others would see how much one donor's generosity can mean to a family.

"We feel like that's the best way to honor her donor - just to appreciate every moment that we have," Jen said.

According to doctors, more than 123,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a live-saving organ transplant. Twenty one people die each day on the waiting list.

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