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Dying Baby Gets Liver Minutes After Added To Donor List

In what some are calling a medical miracle, a 5-month-old baby from Wisconsin received a life-saving liver transplant less than an hour after being placed on the transplant list.

The infant, Daniel McCabe, had biliary atresia, a rare liver disease, and would have died without a transplant, reports WITI.

Daniel's mother, Melody, was ready to stay at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago for as long as it took for her son to get a liver. But the McCabes did not have to wait long. After being placed on the national register on Dec. 13 at 10:15 a.m., a liver became available for transplant only 40 minutes later, at 10:55 a.m.

News Medical reports that the average waiting time for a liver transplant is 149 days for adults and 86 days for children. Daniel's 40-minute wait time is nearly unheard of.

"This is one of the most incredible things that has happened in the five years that I've been here," said Organ Procurement Specialist Justin Boese, reports the Daily Mail.

The donor was an unnamed man in his 30s who had died that day. His liver was split in two so it could save two lives. 

"When [the doctor] walked into our room and shared the news, I just was speechless," Melody told the hospital's blog. "I was immediately so sad but grateful for the donor family. And then at the same time feeling excited and relieved for Daniel. I never thought he would receive a liver this soon. I thought it would be months before a match and that was my biggest worry because he was so sick."

Dr. Riccardo Superina, head of transplant surgery at the hospital, performed the transplant and said Daniel was the smallest patient he ever performed surgery on.

"Daniel is one of the smallest patients we’ve ever transplanted -- probably in the 99th percentile. He weighed barely [8.8 pounds], and half of that weight was fluids," he said. "He was very weak from his disease and never had a normal liver."

The transplant was considered a success, and Daniel will spend the next few weeks in hospital recovering. His mother calls the transplant the best possible Christmas gift she could have received. 

"This is the first time I’ve seen him with normal skin coloring. He’s always been yellow in color. So to see him with normal coloring is just amazing," she said. "We had a lot of prayer warriors praying for Daniel. This is the greatest gift we could receive this season."

Sources: Daily Mail, WITI, News Medical, Lurie Children's Hospital / Photo credit: Lurie Children's Hospital

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