Record breaking month for liver transplants

One liver transplant is a huge achievement in itself, but 11 in 30 days? That's magic.

Earlier this year clinicians at The Children's Hospital at Westmead performed a record breaking eleven liver transplants in one month with all the children now thriving.

Department Head of Transplant Surgery Dr Gordon Thomas said during that month the team performed almost half of what they usually do in a year.

“It was a lot of hard work, we did a large proportion of what we do in a year in that one month,” transplant surgeon Dr Gordon Thomas said.

“(That month) 11 very sick children got a liver transplant and children with liver disease are some of the sickest we treat and if they don’t get a new liver, they will die.”

Having worked at The Hospital for many years, Dr Thomas has watched organ donation rates in Australia slowly climb to the point where children no longer die on a waiting list, something that was a reality not that long ago.

The 11 liver recipients traveled from across the country for their transplants, but none further than one-year-old Muhammad Younus Ahsan who traveled from Perth.

Like many of our recipients Muhammad was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia soon after birth, it is a disease where the bile ducts in the liver become blocked and unable to function. 

 “All he would do was just lie down. He was so lethargic that he wouldn’t even cry for a feed. All he wanted was to be held. He had absolutely no energy to be a regular, growing baby,” mum Fatima Rasheed said.

The family from Perth waited nervously for just under a month for a donor liver and spent several more months in Sydney in recovery after one came through. “Younus had a few hiccups post-transplant but he is doing very well now thanks to all the support from our family, the doctors, the nurses and most of all our donor family,” Mrs Rasheed said.

Last year, 510 deceased organ donors and their families gave 1,402 Australians a new chance in life.

For more information on organ donation visit Donate Life.