Unique transplant: County Limerick father to donate his liver to save daughter’s life

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

“YOU would do anything for your child,” says the County Limerick father who is preparing to give his little girl just under half of his liver to save her life.

“YOU would do anything for your child,” says the County Limerick father who is preparing to give his little girl just under half of his liver to save her life.

Little Isabel Sweeney, Bruree was diagnosed with the chronic liver condition biliary atresia when she was just a few weeks old. It is now causing her liver to fail.

The two and half year old is currently in Crumlin Hospital but her dad Martin and mum Nikki are hoping she will be assessed for a liver transplant in King’s Hospital in London in the coming weeks.

Martin Sweeney says he is hoping to have the transplant operations this summer.

“Isabel needs a liver transplant and she has a rare blood group. There is a chance I could donate a portion of my liver. It means Isabel won’t have to wait and it can be done as soon as possible.

“Your liver is made up of a right lobe and a left lobe. They will take approximately 30 to 40 per cent of my left lobe and judge it on how much Isabel needs,” said Martin. He said his daughter’s condition has been complicated by her rare blood type.

“It is B negative. The statistics show only 2 per cent of the population has this blood type. It was fantastic when I found out I was a match because my blood type is B.

“She also has a condition Situs inversus which means that all the organs are swapped around on her body. Her heart is also on the other side of her chest. I feel helpless at home and this can help her. Isabel has myself and Nikki’s heart so a little bit of liver won’t hurt as well,” said

Isabel’s parents were due to walk down the aisle this summer but they have cancelled it until their daughter is well again.

“From the minute you go on the transplant list then everything is cancelled. When she gets better it will be a double celebration.”

The couple and other parents with the help of liver nurse Dearbhla O’Connor formed a parent support group called Children’s Liver Disease Ireland. Log on to www.cldi.ie