June Patient of the Month: Baby Hannah

June 1, 2009

When she was born, Hannah was very jaundiced. However, doctors in Trinidad and Tobago told Hannah’s mother this was common, and she should simply walk her out in the sun. After two months, Hannah was still jaundiced, and her mother was insistent that something was truly ailing her little girl.

After multiple tests, Hannah was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a very rare liver condition affecting 1 in 20,000 children. Doctors told the new parents that a liver transplant was necessary for their child to survive. Her father donated a portion of his own liver for her first transplant in 2008. Soon after, Hannah began experiencing complications, and doctors discovered she had a blood clot. Within in the next month, she endured two additional surgeries because of clotting and a bile leak.

During the third surgery, doctors determined another liver transplant was necessary. Thankfully, she received her second liver transplant in March and is recovering well in Baltimore, where she and her mother have relocated to be near the transplant center at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Despite Hannah’s difficult journey thus far, she is a happy baby whose smile can brighten anyone’s day.

A liver transplant costs approximately $520,000. And that’s only the beginning. Because there is no pediatric hepatologist or gastroenterologist in Trinidad and Tobago who can help Hannah, she must continue to receive treatment in the United States. Hannah’s family currently owes $1 million for physicians’ fees, hospital costs, medications, labs, follow-up care, her feeding pump and more.

Can you help little Hannah and her family? To donate, visit Hannah's page on the National Foundation for Transplants Web site.