Patrick needs a bit of magic. Not a whole piece, mind you, just a wedge-shaped piece about 3 inches by 3 inches, a piece of magic that will fit into the space above his upper right abdomen, and help his body process nutrients and remove toxins. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, particularly since the little bit that Patrick needs will grow and repair itself. But to Patrick and his family, this piece will be the magic that will allow Patrick to grow and survive.
Patrick needs a liver. Not a whole one, because the liver itself is rather magical, its ability to rejuvenate unusual among the organs of the human body (Columbia School of Medicine, 2017). Patrick needs a piece of liver from a live donor, a piece that will take the place of his own damaged liver.
Patrick’s story begins the way most stories do, with a “once upon a time”, and a mother who noticed that her son at age sixteen was not growing normally and had not yet entered puberty. That led to a visit to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and an endocrinologist who found Patrick had “high inflammation” in his body and sent him to a gastroenterologist, who found masses on Patrick’s liver and determined that ¾ of his liver was damaged beyond repair. Specialists at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital determined that the non-cancerous masses could easily become cancerous. They urged that Patrick’s liver be removed.
But the remarkable liver processes 1.5 quarts of blood every minute and is vital in the process of digestion. It clots the blood, preventing internal bleeding, and produces proteins. And getting a donor liver can involve a long wait, a wait Patrick can ill afford.
But Patrick only needs a LITTLE bit of magic, and a little piece of liver. According to WebMD (2017), a living donor can give up to 40% of a liver, and the remarkable and almost magical liver will, within a year, regenerate to its full size. And the 40% given to Patrick will also, in the same time span, grow to its fullest dimensions.
Live liver donation was pioneered at Columbia University in the 1980’s to alleviate the long wait of pediatric patients. Currently, the survival rate of both adults and children who receive a live liver donation are better than those who receive a liver from a deceased donor (Columbia University, 2017). And live liver donors need only be in good general health, have had no upper abdominal surgery, have a blood type compatible with the patient, and be between 20 and 50 years of age.
Patrick’s blood type is O+, so his donor needs to be O- or O+. In the United States, 45% of the population has O type blood. That’s a lot of potential magic for Patrick!
Patrick’s insurance would cover all the medical costs for the live liver donation. The family lives in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and hope to find a donor in the vicinity. Annette Collins, Patrick’s mother, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love,Annette, Mike, Patrick, and Michael Collins