Uncommon illness child survives COVID-19, liver transplant forward of first birthday Well being Information
By KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News
(NEW YORK) – Kasen Donerlson has been dubbed a “miracle baby” after surviving both COVID-19 and a liver transplant before his first birthday.
“It was very, very stressful,” Kasen’s mother Mitayah Donerlson told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “But his recovery is going so sweet and smooth right now that I can’t ask for anything more.”
Kasen, of Syracuse, New York, was born on January 14, 2020 and weighed a healthy 8 pounds, according to Donerlson. He spent a few days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to breathing problems and jaundice. According to Donerlson, doctors would get better with age.
When Kasen’s health did not improve, Donerlson said she was looking for more reviews for her son. About two months after birth, the infant was diagnosed with a severe case of biliary atresia, which, according to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), has scarred and blocked biliary tract in and around the liver. .
Just days after his diagnosis, Kasen underwent emergency surgery to repair his biliary tract. However, the operation was unsuccessful, according to Donerlson, who soon learned that her son would need a liver transplant.
“We had endless hospital visits and would be there for five, seven or ten days because of the severity of the illness and the complications Kasen was having,” Donerlson said, adding that Kasen needed a feeding tube. “He would have a fever that wouldn’t come down.”
Donerlson, who also looks after her 4-year-old son and 5-year-old niece, put Kasen on the transplant waiting list at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, about a five-hour drive from the family home in Syracuse.
In November, while Kasen was waiting for a liver to become available, Donerlson said she, her significant other, niece, and Kasen all tested positive for COVID-19.
“He woke up that morning on November 21st and was extremely hot. His body was like touching an oven,” Donerlson said. “I only cried because I knew the hospital was going to take us in, but I didn’t know they were going to tell us he was COVID positive.”
Kasen spent about three days in the hospital, but his only complication, according to Donerlson, was a fever, which along with her family members had no complications from COVID-19.
Just two weeks later, in early December, Donerlson got the call she’d been waiting months for – that a liver for cheese was available.
“I could only cry. There were tears from my mother and tears of joy. I was just so happy,” said Donerlson. “I always knew he was going to have a transplant – it was my belief – but to finally get that call and get the message that the surgery was planned and to let that relief fall from the strain on my shoulders, I felt it feels so good. “
She added, “I’m smiling from ear to ear right now because I can literally see this moment and feel it again.”
When Kasen underwent the transplant in early January, Dr. George Mazariegos, chief of pediatric transplant at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, only about 10 pounds more than his birth weight.
“He was more as heavy as a 3-month-old man and it is all due to the severity of his condition,” said Mazariegos, who added that Kasen received part of a liver from a young adult who died. “We were able to use the left part of the liver, which was the perfect size for a baby the size of Kasen.”
Donerlson said she noticed an instant difference in kasen after the nearly 10-hour transplant procedure.
“His eyes have always been greenish and yellowish all his life, and he woke up from the surgery with clear eyes,” she said. “I was overjoyed to see that.”
After Kasen spent much of his first life sick and in the hospital, Maraziegos says a long, normal, and healthy life is expected with his new liver.
He celebrated his first birthday in the hospital on January 14th and is already gaining weight. He was described by Donerlson as more alert and “perkier” after the transplant.
“I’m looking forward to Kasen going and talking,” said Donerlson. “I’m very happy that he is gaining these skills and my family is reuniting, just like we were before all the ups and downs and hospital visits.”
She said she was also grateful to the donor whose liver received Kasen and to all of the people who voluntarily donate their living and deceased organs.
“You gave Kasen, my baby, a way to have a second chance in life, a life he wasn’t promised,” said Donerlson. “I’m just grateful for her.”
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