EAST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — A seven-month-old boy with a rare liver disease has a second chance at life after his family found a donor match.
Michelle Bauer’s son Joshua is recovering at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after getting a life-saving donation from Trinity Hollingsworth, a woman his family is calling his guardian angel.
“It’s a selfless act. She didn’t even hesitate. She said, ‘I’ll do it,'” the first-time mother told KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar.
Joshua suffers from a rare condition, biliary atresia, a blockage of the bile ducts which prevents waste from being carried out of his body. In April, an operation to fix his damaged liver failed.
Joshua was placed on the transplant list but doctors said without a suitable donor he only had a few months left.
“He is my first child. I mean, we hear kids in the hospital all of the time – code blue going off – and your heart stops,” his mother said.
None of Joshua’s family members were a match, and that’s when Hollingsworth stepped in.
The 24-year-old woman shares Joshua’s blood type and is small enough so that a portion of her liver could grow inside of the tiny baby.
Hollingsworth, who had been pregnant at the same time as Bauer, said her eight-month-old daughter was her motivation.
“When she brought over the application my daughter was crawling all over her knees and trying to get into her lap. And I knew that she did not have that blessing with her son right now,” she said.
“He is so small and so fragile. Is he so innocent. And he does be deserve this.”
It has been two weeks since Joshua underwent the transplant at Children’s Hospital, where he will remain in recovery for several more weeks.
One of the side effects of the condition is profound malnutrition and at 7-months-old Joshua weighs as much as some newborns do.
Doctors are still hopeful he will never need another transplant.
“He should be a healthy kid and you should not be able to tell him apart from any other kid,” liver transplant surgeon Dr. Yuri Genyk said.
Bauer is relieved.
“He doesn’t have to play sports or be president or a millionaire. I just want him to be a typical little boy,” she said.