Health

Potential liver donors offer to help sick baby

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eight people have come forward, offering to help a baby girl in desperate need of a liver transplant at UCSF's Children's Hospital. Eight-month-old Nikki Carter suffers from a rare liver disease.

Except for a slight yellow-tinge to her eyes and skin, Nikki seems perfectly normal, but she will die without a liver transplant.

"She's just really sleepy and she's been needing blood transfusion after blood transfusion. Her liver is everyday going down and we are just trying as hard as we can to get her stabilized," Nikki's mother Tina Carter said.

The 38-year-old says the UCSF Transplant Center sent out materials to eight possible donors on Tuesday. One is a Sacramento woman whose test results so far make her a promising candidate.

"It's still kind of like, you are holding your breath to see if she works," she said.

Nikki was diagnosed with biliary atresia at 8-weeks-old. Her doctor, Philip Rosenthal, says the main bile duct between the liver and intestines is destroyed.

All he needs is a piece of an adult liver to replace Nikki's. Since the liver regenerates, the adult's will grow back and if the donated piece is too small for Nikki, it will grow to fit.

"If the liver happens to be a little bit too generous for the child, the liver will actually shrink to the right size within days to a week and then as the child grows, the liver will continue to grow also," Rosenthal said.

Nikki now has a handful of possible living donors who want to help, but the California Transplant Donor Network says there are more than 108,000 adults and children who are waiting for life-saving organs nationwide and in California alone that number is nearly 21,000.

The network urges everyone to sign-up as a donor on its registry.

"Right now is California we have the most people registered approaching eight million. However we also know there could have been in the meantime upwards of 30 million people that could have signed up," Eugene Osborne from the said.

For more information, visit Donate Life California or send an e-mail to info@ctdn.org

With regard to being a living donor to Nikki, contact Anna Marie at UCSF at (415) 353-1377. For UCSF's liver transplant line, call 1-800-548-3789.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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UCSF, organ donations, sacramento, health, heather ishimaru
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