Baby Amy still waiting liver transplant

By Sharon AsplinTHE father of a seriously ill baby has spoken of the agonising wait for a transplant operation and the risks facing his courageous partner if she donates one of her own organs.

By Sharon Asplin

THE father of a seriously ill baby has spoken of the agonising wait for a transplant operation and the risks facing his courageous partner if she donates one of her own organs.

Doctors have warned that 13-month-old Amy Hood may not live beyond a few years without a liver transplant.

Amy, who suffers from biliary atresia, was seriously ill when she was born. Her bile duct had not formed properly and she has never been able to get proper nourishment from food.


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Now her liver is deteriorating and her parents, Nick Hood and Vicky Connal, from Springfield, near Chelmsford, are desperate for the phone call to say a life-saving organ has been found.

Ms Connal has already vowed to try to give half of her own liver to her baby, who is on the transplant waiting list at King's College Hospital in London, but her partner said yesterday that would be a last resort as it was a dangerous procedure for older donors.

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"The doctors have said we are very near the top of the list, but it is whoever's need is greater. Amy is not too bad at the moment, things are stable and as good as we can hope for," said Mr Hood.

"For Vick to donate part of her liver to Amy would mean we have come to the absolute end of the line.

"Children are resilient, but it would be life-threatening for Vick. I am not saying she would not do it – it could happen, but we will only look at that if Amy gets generally ill and struggling.

"The older you get, your liver stiffens and gets less pliable, which makes it harder to split. Ideally a teenager is as old as you want a donor to be. We have discussed it with King's, but they tell us that Vick donating is step 1,000 and we are around 60 now."

Mr Hood was full of praise for the "excellent" BBC series of transplant programmes, which he hoped would encourage more people to carry donor cards.

"They are recorded, but in some ways it hasn't done me any favours because they are really upsetting and bring it all home. Vick has watched some of them and she has been in tears," he said.

Speaking earlier this year, Ms Connal said Amy's enlarged liver was making her young life unbearable.

"She's scratching herself so much she's making her stomach bleed. Her liver's getting more and more damaged, so it's now like a watermelon. She's so unsettled all the time. She's tied to me – I'm looking after her all the time, but I can't stand to see her like it," she said.

"When Amy's not crying she's ever so smiley. It's heart breaking to see, but it will be all right when she's had the transplant."

sharon.aplin@eadt.co.uk

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