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Five-month-old Blake Thomas struggled with liver cancer and was likely going to die without a transplant. Luckily, he finally received a new liver.
During what seemed like Blake’s darkest hours, a family came forward to help. The Clinton, MD infant is now recovering from the operation at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.
Blake’s transplant surgeon said that his prognosis is great. For now, Blake will be getting plenty of rest, likely more than the average 14 to 17 hours per day that most infants get due to his recent operation.
Blake is still hooked up to a lot of wires and monitors, so although it may look scary, all of the doctors explained that Blake’s going to be just fine.
“I’m very grateful for Thanksgiving this year,” said his mother Rebecca.
Blake was previously run through five rounds of chemotherapy treatment in an attempt to stall the growth of the tumor in his liver. At that point, it wasn’t clear whether he would survive.
However, Blake and others like him have prompted doctors to complete earlier liver screenings for children.
Dr. Benjamin Shneider is the Chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at TX Children’s Hospital. He explained that children are often born with liver conditions that could lead to cirrhosis and scarring of the liver, and in many cases, require a transplant.
He also said that not many doctors are completing the tests necessary to detect rare liver diseases like Biliary Atresia, which affects nearly 1 in every 10,000 births in the United States.
While there’s no cure for many of these disorders, earlier screenings could potentially save an infant’s life.
Fortunately, for those cases of Biliary Atresia and of liver cancer, like Blake’s, transplants are a source of hope for families everywhere.