Monday, May 24, 1999

Liver donor has baby


Mom, daughter both thriving after rare surgery

BY TIM BONFIELD
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[schott]
Martha Schott and daughter Kit Kat admire baby Thomas.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
        To look at 3-year-old Katherine Schott, running around like any toddler, it is hard to believe she was part of medical history.

        In January 1997, Katherine (nicknamed Kit Kat by her parents) was the first patient at Children's Hospital Medical Center to receive a partial liver transplant from a living donor — her mother, Martha.

        Not only is Katherine doing well, Mrs. Schott has gone on to have another baby. Her son, Thomas, was born last Monday at Christ Hospital weighing a healthy 7 pounds, 15 ounces.

        “I guess this shows that you can have a normal existence after being a living organ donor,” Mrs. Schott said.

        Amid the joys and bustle of a growing family in Loveland, the fear and desperation of Katherine's ordeal seem distant today.

        In late 1996, a fast-acting viral infection (never precisely identified) attacked Katherine's liver. The day after Christmas, she was in intensive care, and on a waiting list for a liver transplant.

        Five awful days passed, but no donor organ was available. Doctors estimated that Katherine had less than 48 hours to live. So the family agreed to try a procedure that was, and still is, extremely unusual — a living-donor, partial-liver transplant.

        In a 12-hour double operation, surgeons removed about 20 percent of Mrs. Schott's liver for use by Katherine. Both organs have grown and stretched since then to provide full blood-cleansing function.

        Since recovering from the surgery, life has been mostly normal for the family. After a busy few months of follow-up tests, Katherine now takes anti-rejection drugs daily, gets lab tests every three months, plus an annual re-exam.

        “Katherine is really active now. She's really kind of a roughneck,” Mrs. Schott said. “To see how active she is now, it's amazing that she was as sick as she was.”

        Nationwide, about 60 living-donor, partial-liver transplants are done a year. Counting Kit Kat, doctors at Children's Hospital have per formed six such transplants; five of the patients survive, said hospital spokesman Jim Feuer.

        More recently, the procedure has been attempted in adults. In March at University Hospital, 55-year-old Carolyn Hines of Franklin, Ohio, became the first adult patient in the state to get a partial-liver transplant — donated by her 23-year-old son, Robert.

        Mrs. Schott, now 40, said the doctors were cautiously supportive of her trying to have another baby. At least four or five other women in similar cases had done it. Her past surgery did make it necessary to deliver the baby by caesarean section.

        “My doctors treated me like any other patient who had past abdominal surgery. Everything went fine,” Mrs. Schott said.

       



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