Cole Chaivanik was only a couple of months old when he started showing symptoms of a rare childhood liver disease called Bilary Atresia. To confirm this diagnosis would require a liver biopsy. Knowing it was a rare disease, Cole's family went ahead with the biopsy. Then complications arose.
Cole's family knew it was time to find an expert in the field. A family friend recommended Dr. Sukru Emre at Yale New Haven Transplant Center.
After running his own series of tests, Dr. Emre confirmed Cole did indeed have Biliary Atresia. Dr. Emre explained there was no cure, and Cole would eventually need a liver transplant. The next step was to attempt a procedure called a Kasai, which temporarily helps the liver to drain bile. If successful, it could increase the time before a transplant was needed. It did not work. A donor liver would be needed to save Cole's life. Fortunately, Cole's mother was a match. A part of her liver could be given to Cole.
While waiting in the hospital for the surgery, the family learned that a donor liver had finally become available. This took tremendous pressure off the family. They could now focus on Cole. On October 27, 2008, Dr. Emre and his team performed the transplant.
The operation was a total success, and Cole came through with flying colors. His liver was functioning properly. The gift of life organ donation made it possible for Dr. Emre and his staff to save Cole's life. "We were very fortunate to be organ recipients and hope to help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation through Cole's story," says his family.
"We sincerely cannot put into words how much everyone at the transplant clinic has meant to us, and how much we appreciate their sincere care for Cole," says his family. "Without their support, it would have made the whole process that much harder to deal with. They do a tremendous job top to bottom, and truly care about their work. Thank you to Dr. Emre and the entire transplant team at Yale New Haven for saving Cole's life."