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Cambridgeshire mum’s liver donation gives ‘gift of life’ to 21-month-old son

Emma stepped in to donate part of her own liver

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One of the smallest ever children believed to have undergone a successful liver transplant is back home in Cambridgeshire for Christmas, after undergoing a second life-saving transplant thanks to his mother’s donation.

Surgeons believe that at just ten weeks of age, in April 2022, Teddy Nicholls was one of the smallest children to have ever undergone a successful liver transplant from a deceased donor, made possible by a hospital team at King’s using a novel surgical technique.

Coined as a ‘Hitch-Vein Monosegment’ liver transplant, the innovation means that an adult donor liver – live or deceased – can be hyper-reduced to be used successfully to save the life of such small babies.

The only alternative is to await a rare, deceased donor liver from another small baby which sadly can see babies run out of time.

Christmas cheer as mum gifts young son Teddy with life-saving liver transplant

Christmas cheer as mum gifts young son Teddy with life-saving liver transplant

The first transplant was lifesaving, but it was later deemed necessary for Teddy, at the age of 21 months, to undergo a second liver transplant to increase the blood flow needed for him to survive in the long-term.

That was when his mum, Emma, stepped in to donate part of her own liver, having been unable to donate the first time so soon after giving birth.

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Although rare for small babies, liver donation from living donors can be carried out by specialist NHS transplant centres thanks to the liver’s ability to regenerate.

Now, having been able to return home to Ramsey, Cambridgeshire just three weeks after his second life-saving liver transplant, Teddy is thriving, with he and his mother reunited with Teddy’s 5-year-old brother Theo and father Greg just in time for Christmas.

Teddy’s mum, Emma Nicholls said: “I am incredibly grateful to the whole hospital team from the theatres to the wards where we stayed; they’ve been fantastic looking after Teddy and me every step of the way. Being home and reunited as a family in time for Christmas makes us feel so lucky and grateful to everyone at King’s College Hospital.

“I knew I wanted to do everything possible to help my son, and as a family we were so thankful to the donor and their family who saved Teddy’s life with his first organ transplant that I had no doubts about stepping in when needed.”

Dr Hector Vilca Melendez, Consultant Transplant Surgeon at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust explained: “I’m delighted to see Teddy and Emma doing so well, and thanks to his mother’s donation Teddy has the opportunity to develop as would be normal for any child.

“Seeing Teddy grow from first meeting soon after birth when he was seriously unwell, to now that he’s a happy and vibrant 21-month-old, is a wonderful tribute to the importance of organ donation and the fantastic work of our team at King’s.”

Christmas cheer as mum gifts young son Teddy with life-saving liver transplant

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