Baby On Liver Transplant List Waits Only 40 Minutes To Get A Match

First Posted: Dec 28, 2016 05:01 AM EST

Patients needing liver transplant usually wait days before they could get a match. For adult patients, the average wait time is 149 days, while children usually wait 89 days. However, for a 5-month-old baby Daniel McCabe, he received a life-saving liver transplant after just 40 minutes of waiting -- a record breaker.

On Dec. 13, Daniel McCabe was placed at the top of the waiting list for a new liver at 10:15 a.m. At 10:55 a.m., the phone rang at Lurie Children's Hospital and a liver has been found.

In July, Daniel McCabe was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare condition that leads to scarring of the liver and blocks the bile ducts. His condition deteriorated and he needed an urgent liver transplant to save his life.

"His condition was worsening and becoming dire," Melody McCabe, the baby's mother, said as reported by ABC13.

According to Chicago Sun Times, the United Network for Organ Sharing says that at least 14,000 people are waiting for a liver. Daniel McCabe is lucky to become one of the 43 people across the nation, or about one-half of 1 percent, to have waited less than 40 minutes for a liver donor match.

Since Daniel McCabe is in dire need of a new liver, two surgeons left Chicago on Dec. 14 to start the transplant process. They arrived in Milwaukee about 20 minutes later.

"I think it was the best thing for him. He was deteriorating fairly rapidly, even for this disease. Usually, it's not so fast, and he really needed that liver as soon as possible," Dr. Saeed Mohammed, a pediatric liver specialist, said.

According to WGNTV, once the donor organ arrived at Lurie Children's Hospital, transplant surgeon Dr. Ricardo Superina divided the adult-sized liver. A small part of the liver was given to Daniel and the remainder went to another patient. Thus, two patients benefitted from a single organ.

Daniel McCabe is now in a stable condition but is expected to stay in the hospital for a couple more weeks. The family is hoping that he could go home in February 2017.

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