LOS ANGELES – Eighteen-year-old Lydia Hand of Lancaster is Children’s Hospital’s first living donor liver transplant patient. As an infant, she was diagnosed with biliary atresia, and in 1998, she received a liver from her grandmother.
Today, Hand is a freshman at West Coast Baptist College majoring in music, and she says her donated liver is still going strong. Children Hospital’s Liver and Intestinal Transplant Program has since grown to become one of the largest programs in the country, with success rates well above national averages.
“But statistics are not the real story,” said Daniel Thomas, MD, medical director of the Liver and Intestinal Transplant Program. “It is seeing patients like Lydia Hand grow, accomplish, and live to be a happy young woman with a life full of dreams and hopes.”
Coincidentally, the same team that worked on Hand also treated patient No. 300 — 7-month-old Donovan Daniels.
“Donovan’s success is truly the culmination of the knowledge and skills from the 299 liver transplants that preceded him, including Lydia’s,” said Dr. Genyk, surgical director of the Pediatric Liver Transplant Program. “It speaks to the expertise and dedication of the entire liver transplant team, as well as the collective support we receive from all the services CHLA provides.”
When Donovan’s parents brought him to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in October, doctors told them Donovan urgently needed a new liver. His father, Dejon Daniels, volunteered and was found to be a match. The transplant took place Nov. 18, with Dr. Genyk performing both parts – Dejon’s surgery at USC in the morning and Donovan’s transplant at CHLA several hours later.
Lydia Hand met the Daniels family this month.
“I’ve heard all the stories about my transplant from my family, but to actually see and hear what their family is going through is a special experience,” she said. “Donovan is me, I was once him, and it’s incredible to know that hundreds of other kids have received this life-saving procedure at CHLA in the years between us.”
[Information via news release from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.]