Twenty months ago, Emily McBride gave birth to son Jackson, and on March 8, she gave her son the gift of life again.
Seeing no other alternative, doctors performed a living donor liver transplant on Jackson, who received nearly 20 percent of his mother's liver tissue, saving his life, said Jackson's father, Justin McBride.
Though the family has health insurance, Emily's gift of life to Jackson isn't free, Justin said.
Starting at 7 a.m. Saturday , Jackson's day care, Appletree Academy at 1047 Furys Ferry Road in Evans, is holding a yard and bake sale with proceeds benefiting the family, said day care director Tiffany Futo. The day care also is accepting donations for the family.
In February, Jackson's parents noticed the boy was developing symptoms similar to a cold that he could not shake. Within weeks, Jackson's condition deteriorated as he began to turn yellow.
Doctors in Augusta sent the McBrides to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - formerly Egleston Children's Hospital - when they could not determine the cause of the sickness that left Jackson severely jaundiced.
On March 5, after performing a litany of tests, doctors diagnosed Jackson with acute liver failure caused by an undetermined virus and placed the boy on the waiting list for a new organ, Justin said.
"The pathology tests found that 90 percent of his liver cells were dead," Justin said.
Knowing time was critical, doctors evaluated Jackson's parents to determine if either were a candidate donor for a living donor liver transplant, Justin said.
In an adult-to-child living donor liver transplant, doctors remove a portion of the left side of the adult liver, and transplant it into the child, according to the Mayo Clinic's Web site, which also states that the number of adult and juvenile patients awaiting a liver greatly exceed the number of available organs. Currently, more than 15,000 patients are awaiting a transplant on the United Network for Organ Sharing list, though only about 4,500 cadaver livers are available each year, the Mayo Clinic Web site states.
As a result, many die while awaiting a new chance to live.
Doctors at Egleston quickly determined Justin could not be a donor because his liver was too small. However, Emily, who is 21, could.
On March 8, despite fears that a small, but critical, artery from Emily's liver would be insufficient to connect the new tissue to Jackson's failing liver, doctors took a gamble, Justin said, and performed the transplant.
Living donor liver transplants have a high rate of success, according to the Mayo Clinic, and Jackson seems to be no exception so far.
"(The doctors) say he should be able to live a normal life," Justin said, adding his wife suffered some discomfort, but was able to leave the hospital after seven days and will recover with no ill effects.
Jackson will stay in the hospital for at least the next three weeks, and will have to take anti-rejection medication for life, but his prognosis is good, Justin said.
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