UW Health ‘Miracle Baby’ meets one-year milestone after liver transplant

“Miracle Baby” celebrates one-year anniversary of life-saving liver transplant at UW Health
“Miracle Baby” celebrates one-year anniversary of life-saving liver transplant at UW Health(UW Health)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 5:14 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - UW Health is celebrating a “miracle baby” Thursday after he reached a one-year milestone following a live-saving liver transplant.

Jenny Hougom gave birth to her son Lucas in August of 2019, according to a news release. He was quickly diagnosed with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is a rare virus in newborns that attacks the liver.

Doctors explained that Lucas spent the first four months of his life in and out of hospitals for doctors to try to get his liver failure under control.

He was admitted to UW Hospital in Madison in early December and doctors said he would need a liver transplant soon. UW Health explained it was unlikely that a deceased donor’s liver of that size would come in time, so they told the Hougoms that a living donor was likely the only option.

The family posted a request on social media, which resulted in over 100 people across the U.S. offering to help. None of them turned out to be good candidates for Lucas, but then a former-high school classmate of Jenny’s came forward to save the day.

The woman was determined to be a match for Lucas- and donated part of her liver to him.

Lucas is believed to be the first pediatric patient to have a liver transplant while having active CMV, UW Health remarked.

“I’ve been in practice for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this ‚” said Dr. Katryn Furuya, medical director for the UW Health pediatric liver program. “I don’t know too many transplant surgeons who would have attempted what they did on such a small child, but the lengths to which our surgeons went to save Lucas’ life are nothing short of heroic.”

UW Health added that Lucas’ parents noted they will never forget the selflessness of the donor and the dedication shown by the people at UW Health and the American Family Children’s Hospital.

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