Girl's desperate wait for transplant

THE parents of a seriously ill baby girl have spoken of their “living nightmare” as they wait for their daughter to get a desperately needed liver transplant.

A FAMILY who have pinned their hopes on a liver transplant for their baby girl have gone on national television to appeal for more people to carry a donor card.

And following Nick Hood and Vicky Connal'sappearance on GMTV to speak about their daughter Amy's serious illness there was a jump in the number of phone calls to the UK Transplant line.

The couple's daughter is 15-months-old but was seriously ill when born because her bile duct had not formed properly, meaning she has never been able to get the full nourishment from food.

Doctors have said it is vital for Amy to have a liver transplant if she is to survive beyond a few years and she is now very close to the top of a waiting list. Currently she has to endure three visits to the hospital each day for medication to control her illness.

Yesterday the family from Springfield, near Chelmsford, appealed for more people to go on the organ register. At the moment around one in five people are signed up nationally but UK Transplant is keen to push the figure much higher.

Mr Hood said the TV appeal was not for Amy, but for other people who might find themselves in a similar situation.

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“We did not have to say all that much - Amy was the star of the show and I am pleased to hear it had a positive impact - that was the whole point as it won't be Amy who will benefit, as she is too far down the line already; this is for other people in the future.

“If anyone wants to know what they can do to help, all they have to do is carry a donor card and tell members of their family to do the same.”

Mr Hood, 39, stressed it was also important people make sure their loved ones know if they are a card carrier: “When people are asked about donating someone's organs it is usually in the worst circumstances - when you have just lost someone and it has to be a quick decision, so rather than have families deliberating about it, it is better if they are aware of what the person would want.”

A spokesman for UK Transplant said there had been an increase in calls following the GMTV appearance.

“All publicity is good, given the shortage of donated organs. We do not always get an immediate response so it is hard to judge exactly what something produces but it all helps.”

Amy is currently near the top of a waiting list at King's College Hospital, London, and was recently placed on standby for the operation.

Mrs Connal has pledged to undergo surgery and donate half her liver to save Amy, although the gesture would have to be the last resort because of the dangers involved for the 31-year-old.

Anyone wishing to sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register should call 0845 60 60 400.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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