PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After years of planning, an island nation has taken a new step in saving the lives of their people and a team of doctors from our area are helping them in their initiative.
A team of doctors from the Philadelphia area performed the first liver transplant on Jamaica.
‘I’m confident in them. I know that they are specialists, that they’re experts. They know what they’re doing,” says Tannila Gordon.
In a video provided by Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Tannila Gordon said she had faith in God as a team of doctors from Bustamante Hospital for Children and Nemours prepared to perform a liver transplant on her 13-month-old son Zaiden. This transplant will be the island’s first.
Before now, Nemours flew Jamaican children to the U.S. for liver transplants.
“We kind of started a relationship with patients from Jamaica really about 7 or 8 years ago when we did our first liver transplant on a baby from Jamaica,” explains Dr. Christopher Raab, the medical director for Nemours Global Health Services.
They were ready to make this next step.
Via Skype, Chair of Surgery at Nemours, Dr. Stephen Dunn said his team, with assistance from Jamaican doctors, operated on Zaiden for about 8 hours.
“Because this child didn’t have a bile duct, we had to do some intestinal surgery to create drainage for the bile from the new liver that would go into the intestine directly,” explains Dr. Dunn.
Dr. Dunn says Zaiden is doing well. The Jamaican team has established post-surgery protocols and made sure anti-rejection drugs will be readily available.
“We’re very happy for the child and for the parents, and we’re all a little tired,” Dr. Dunn adds.
Friday, the team will perform a second liver transplant on a 16-month-old.
The doctors plan to rest up as they “have to do this all again tomorrow”.
Dr. Dunn said it’s important for new parents to look for clues of liver problems. That can include a yellowing of the whites of the eyes. Catching those symptoms within two months of birth gives babies the best chance.