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November 20, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Babies need transplants to survive

A GROUP of local volunteers are collecting donations for liver transplants for four critically ill babies from poverty-stricken areas in Anhui and Guizhou provinces.

The babies have congenital biliary atresia, a disease that blocks bile flow. The disease causes jaundice and can lead to death if not corrected in time. Severe cases can require a liver transplant for survival.

The babies are living in a rented apartment near Renji Hospital in the Pudong New Area, where the Children's Hope Relief Foundation covers their living expenses. The group helps contact medical experts at the hospital and collects donations for treatment.

Since 2008, the apartment has hosted 50 to 60 children with the disease. The apartment was set up by a staff member of the foundation along with volunteers.

The group is being led by Ji Hongxia, a long-term volunteer at the apartment, since its founder, who goes by the name Pearl, is recovering from cancer surgery, according to yesterday's Shanghai Evening Post.

Doctors from the hospital just informed the family of Wen Junyi from Guizhou Province that the baby can have transplant surgery next week to receive a portion of liver donated by his mother.

Without a transplant, the baby may die soon, Ji said.

Parents usually can donate part of their liver to their children. But 20 percent of sick children don't match their parents and need a donated liver. Volunteers at the apartment have seen four babies die of the disease after a donor couldn't be found in time.

The cost of a liver transplant is about 100,000 yuan (US$15,873), which is not affordable for poor families.

The foundation helps cover half of the cost through donations, while the parents are asked to collect the rest.

Volunteers are calling for more people to help. Information on the babies will be updated through the foundation and Ji Hongxia's Weibo microblog.


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