Miraculous Gift for a Sick Child

An adult donor pays it forward in a major way

It’s been a very tough time for a Wisconsin family. Doctors had been unable to say how long their son — five-month-old Daniel McCabe — might survive without a liver transplant.

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He was diagnosed with biliary atresia shortly after birth. The rare disorder causes scarring in the liver and blocks the bile ducts. McCabe’s parents took him to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago in early December for an evaluation, but his condition quickly deteriorated.

Then, miraculously, just when he needed a liver — he got one.

Only 40 minutes after being placed on a wait list for a new liver the morning of Dec. 13, doctors got the call. Because the child was so sick, he was eligible to be matched very quickly. Otherwise, the wait for a new donor is 86 days, on average, for children.

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Not only did McCabe receive a new liver, but transplant surgeon Dr. Riccardo Superina was able to carefully divide the adult-sized liver into two. A small portion was given to McCabe, while the remainder went to a patient at another hospital. The donor was 30 years old.

The infant is said to be doing well, but he will have to stay in the hospital a few more weeks for observation. At less than nine pounds, he is one of the smallest transplant patients the hospital has ever operated on.

The family is praying this will be a healthy, beautiful start to the new year and to their child’s life — and said this was the greatest gift they could have ever been given.

They should be able to go home sometime in February.

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