Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

June 15, 2009

SAVED: Shelby boy back in form after liver transplant

A 4-year-old boy who had a liver transplant has returned home to Shelby and is showing signs of a complete recovery.

Joshua Fuller, son of Jennifer and James Fuller, became ill on Feb. 17.

Within two days his condition deteriorated and he was taken to Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. The family was soon off to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, where a transplant was deemed necessary in order to save his life.

Joshua’s skin and eyes turned bright yellow, and his urine was dark.

“He would have never made it. It was astonishing. It was amazing,” said Dr. William Baire of Lockport Pediatrics. “Some kids have to wait a lifetime and don’t make it.”

A liver was located in Maryland, from a 17-year-old boy. The hospital would not release the donor’s name.

Dr. Kyle Soltys of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh flew to Maryland on March 10 on a chartered jet and returned the same day to assist in the 10-hour operation with Dr. George Mazariegos.

Joshua was Status One, on top of the regional recipient list.

“You couldn’t get much sicker than he was,” Soltys said.

Joshua was living hour by hour.

Because the donor had A-positive blood and Joshua is 0-positive, the doctors kept Joshua’s stomach open for a week to be sure his body would not reject the new organ.

“You have to do a lot of special things,” the doctor said. “They can have bad rejection.”

The liver also had to be cut to fit. The donor’s liver was more than twice the size of Joshua’s. “We do it in cases where children are high risk,” Soltys said. “We don’t do it all time.”

The operation went smoothly.

Previously, Joshua was never sick in his life, according to his mom. “He was an active and healthy boy,” said Jennifer, who has a 2-year-old, Nathan, and a baby on the way.

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