An 8-year-old boy has a new shot at life after a Milwaukee ICU nurse decided to step in and donate part of her liver in a life-saving transplant. Talk about a real hero. Nurses definitely don’t get enough credit for all they do to help their patients. Brayden Auten was able to return to his family’s home in Wisconsin in July after recovering for a partial liver transplant. The boy is now set to head back to school, months after his family was wondered whether he would make it.
Brayden’s story began back in April when he returned from school sick. According to his family, they took him to the hospital where doctors found an aggressive virus attacking his liver. That’s when his health quickly began to decline. As soon as the boy was administered, doctors at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital stated they had to “bypass everything” and was going on the transplant waiting list immediately.
On May 6, Auten’s mother, Ruth Auten, posted on facebook that her son’s liver was quickly failing, and needed prayers and miracle to find him a liver soon. The mother stated she was sharing her story online in hopes of finding a donor for the boy, but no one was a match. Weeks later, the mom had a positive update, saying that anIntensive Care Unit nurse, Cami Loritz, stepped in to help after learning she was a perfect match.
Cami Loritz created a heart warming post on Facebook, talking about the situation:
“This post comes from such a FULL heart. I cannot say thank you enough for all the kind words, genuine thoughts and intentional prayers Brayden and I have received over the last few months. Know that they have been whole heartedly appreciated and were our go to “pick me ups” during the rough days of recovery.
Now that we are almost 4 months post-transplant it’s heartwarming seeing Brayden enjoy being a kid again, no argument he’s stinkin’ cute! I am beyond thankful his family gets the chance to have their little boy back and healthy. With that said, both the Auten’s and I don’t want this happy ending to end here.”
“What went on here was an altruistic (anonymous/un-directed) partial living liver donation. There is no medical device able to function or perform for your liver the way dialysis does for your kidneys or an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) does for your heart. Therefore, transplant is the only option for those in irreversible liver failure. Since you cannot live without a liver, as the donor, 20-65% of your liver is allocated and transplanted into the recipient. Being the only organ with the ability to regenerate itself, within 4-6 months (or less) the donor and recipient’s liver will grow back to its original size and full functionality will follow within the year. That’s why partial living liver donation is possible! So cool right?!
With the number of people on the organ transplant waiting list tremendously exceeding the number of available deceased donor organs, living donation is a way to help close that gap and better meet these demands. Altruistic living kidney donation is much more commonly performed and well understood and received by the general public in comparison to altruistic living liver donation. Why is that? A few reasons include: 1: in living liver donation, the donor is subjected to a higher risk procedure, higher complication rate, and longer recovery compared to living kidney. 2: out of those willing to donate, only 15-20% are eligible and cleared to donate based off their current and past health history, anatomy and vasculature shown on scans, support system and financial situations, and a variety of other safety reasons. 3: there are only a handful of transplant programs in the United States willing to perform altruistic living liver donation. 4: the opinions on ethics behind subjecting a healthy person to this procedure varies amongst people, especially in altruistic donation.”
“To put this into prospective, of the 44,485 liver transplants performed in the U.S. from 2013-2018, 2,004 (4.5%) of them were from living donors. Only 20 (0.045%) were from altruistic (non-biological, un-directed) living donors. -U.S. Department for Health and Human Services: Organ procurement and Transplantation Network
With all of that being said, living organ donation is a FEASIBLE concept to SAVE LIVES! On top of all the love and support we’ve received we’re asking for your help to educate the public and raise awareness about living organ donation. Help us lessen the deficit between the number of organs needed and the number of organs available. Help us ADVOCATE for altruistic living organ donation (especially liver) to encourage and challenge transplant centers to develop programs that successfully perform them. Help us spread our story to raise awareness beyond Wisconsin, beyond the Midwest. PLEASE, PLEASE read and SHARE this post and our story. Talk about living organ donation, ask questions, PRAY about it, research it, ask your doctor, ask me, consider it for yourself, encourage each other, advocate for those on the waiting list!”
The mother stated, “She has given up time and went through pain to make sure that my son has a chance to walk by my side again and be able to live and thrive like a regular 7yr old boy. So thank you Cami Loritz I will never be able to repay the gift that you have given my son and all of us!”
Weeks after recovery, Brayden is now home and he and the Wisconsin nurse decided to show off their successful surgery scars in a photoshoot to show the world the importance of life-saving organ donations. The photos show the duo wearing matching shirts and hugging with wide smiles. A true miracle indeed, we need more Cami Loritz’s in the world.
Facebook | Cami Loritz