SPAIN: 13-month-old Emma became the recipient of the world’s first successful intestine transplant. Emma was suffering from intestinal failure, as a result of which the intestines couldn’t absorb nutrients from the food.
The child had undergone several operations prior to the intestine transplant. The transplant was even more challenging due to her young age. Organ transplants among infants are particularly difficult since the recipients vastly outnumber the donors.
In cases of lack of donors for the organs, Asystolic donation or donation after a cardio-vascular arrest is often used as a solution. According to statistics, 30% of the candidates die on the waiting list due to a lack of donors.
The intestine transplant carried an exceptionally higher risk of rejection and infection. A research team at La Paz hospital carried out three years of research and trials to substantiate that an intestine transplant is feasible.
The organ used for Emma’s operation was harvested from an asystole donor. Beatriz Dominguez Gil, the Director of the Spanish National Transplant Organisation, emphasised what the transplant represents for Emma and many children afflicted with the same condition in Spain and other countries. The milestone achievement is being widely seen as a medical miracle.
Emma also received a new liver, stomach, spleen, and pancreas as a part of the transplant. She was discharged from the hospital and now recovers at home under the watchful eyes of her parents. Emma’s father, Daniel, thanked the researchers involved in the surgery, which saved the life of their precocious child.
He said, “Emotionally, they also help our family a lot. We have had very hard times; it has been a rocky road, and the truth is that they have helped us to keep our feet on the ground, and we have moved forward, and the truth is that here you have a little girl who is beautiful and eager to fight.”