Biliary Atresia

A Mother’s Love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things, and crushes down remorselessly all that stand in its path.
-Agatha Christie

On Sunday, October 9, 2016 Aiden Smith was born to Janell and Brandon Smith. He was welcomed into a loving family with big sister Janiya excited about his birth. The whole family fell in love instantly with their new baby boy. However, Jahnelle started to notice that something wasn’t right. She noticed that Aiden’s eyes were getting more jaundiced and he seemed to be sleeping more than usual. She then made an appointment with Aiden’s primary care physician and requested that his bilirubin be checked. At that time the doctor reassured her that everything would be fine but the next day the doctor called and gave her news that would change their lives forever .

The doctor called and advised her that he suspected Biliary Atresia. He explained that it is a rare, life-threatening disease that affects the liver in newborns. Where the liver’s bile ducts are damaged or blocked so the bile cannot drain properly and instead builds up, damaging the liver. This damage leads to scarring and cirrhosis. He told her that he had already made an appointment with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for that day and it was imperative that they go.

On December 7th Aiden had the appointment with the liver specialist , on the 9th a liver biopsy and on the 12th the Kasai procedure. The Kasai is a life saving corrective operation, where a piece of the small intestine is rerouted and attached to the liver to help drain the excess bile and increase liver function. In 1/3 of Biliary Atresia cases, the Kasai is unsuccessful, and the infant requires a liver transplant. In Aiden’s case he had recurring episodes of cholangitis , which is an infection of the bile ducts that caused him to be listed for transplant.
Aiden received his “gift of life” on November 17, 2017.

A mom knows when something is wrong with her child and dealing with this liver disease has been difficult, but both Jahnelle and Brandon have been thankful for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. They feel that God relocated them here from Texas for Aiden.

As with many transplants, it can take a few call-ins before you receive the organ. The first attempt showed cirrhosis in the liver and the Vanderbilt team did not want to give it to Aiden. The second attempt, the liver was too large for Aiden’s small body. On the third attempt, the Smith’s knew the drill. They went in and went through all the tests and things started to slow down, and Brandon thought it was going to be another non-match, but Janell kept saying “this is the one, it has to be”, and it was. After a 7-hour surgery, Aiden had a new Liver. Aiden is doing well and growing up to be a strong little boy every day. Vanderbilt continues to check Aiden and make sure he is not in rejection or having any other complications. He still has had some challenges but is becoming the toddler he should be. If you weren’t aware of his story you would have no idea how much he has been through in his 2 years of life. Aiden is a bright, full of life, happy fellow and is fortunate to have a loving and caring family at his side, along with a Mom who followed her intuition .

Last updated on July 19th, 2022 at 03:17 pm

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