How a liver transplant saved a little boy in Orange

BIG SMILES: Karlie Fisher with son Rory, who was diagnosed with needing a life- saving liver transplant when he was just six months old. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

BIG SMILES: Karlie Fisher with son Rory, who was diagnosed with needing a life- saving liver transplant when he was just six months old. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

The call came in the dead of night.

Quintyn and Karlie Fisher knew there was no time to wait.

They had to get from Orange to Sydney as quick as possible – their baby son Rory’s life depended on it.

Suffering the rare liver disease biliary atresia Rory was on the waiting list for a liver transplant and when Westmead Children’s Hospital called to say a matching donor liver had been found, it was action stations.

“We got the call just after midnight and we had to drop everything and drive down there. They operated on him at 8.30 in the morning,” Mrs Fisher said.

A second operation followed two weeks later.

“After that second surgery he has come ahead in leaps and bounds. He’s healthy in as his liver is working, he’s a healthy two-year-old.”

Rory was diagnosed with biliary atresia when he was seven-weeks old.

“That normal newborn jaundice hung around a bit longer.”

She said it effects just one in 15,000-20,000 babies.

Mrs Fisher said the reality was that without the transplant Rory would not have survived.

She urged people to considering donating their organs to help others.

“I was always a big supporter of organ donation,” she said.

“I didn’t know it was going to come so close to home.

“In the condition Rory was, if he didn’t have a liver transplant he would die.”

She said it was important for the donor pool to be as large as possible as not everyone on the donor list will be in a position to have their organs donated when they die.

“The actual pool of people is very small to start with, but basically the only organs that can be donated are from people who are on life support in hospital.”

A spokeswoman for the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service said they urgently needed more donors.

“In the first eight months of 2016 a record 958 Australians received an organ transplant through the generosity of 329 deceased organ donors and their families,” she said.

“At the same time, more than 1400 Australians and their families are waiting for a transplant with a further 12,000 people on dialysis.”

Earlier this month the national awareness day for organ and tissue donation, DonateLife Thank You Day was held.

The official website donatelife.gov.au has more information.

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