A seven-year-old boy is now back home and recovering well after undergoing a life-saving five organ transplant operation performed by expert surgeons at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Jay Crouch, from Leicestershire, was given the ‘Gift of Life’ in March, receiving two new kidneys, a pancreas, liver and bowel during a single 10-hour operation.
The youngster has suffered with a condition called short bowel syndrome since he was six-weeks old, when doctors discovered his small intestine was twisted, causing complications with his kidneys and other vital organs. Since then, he has undergone continuous treatment but the additional strain on his body resulted in the failure of his own organs meaning a transplantation was necessary.
His complex condition has also meant he has never been able to eat and digest food, instead having to be fed intravenously, otherwise known as parenteral feeding.
The pioneering operation was the first of its kind performed at the Children’s Hospital in around two decades and the first on record involving five organs in one operation, requiring a team of 12 which included anaesthetists, two surgeons, five nurses, three junior doctors and many more involved in his wider care.
Thankfully Jay is recovering well and has returned to his home in Market Harborough. Excited to begin his new life, he is currently being fed through a nasogastric tube, supported by oral feeding, as he works towards eating a full diet in the coming years with continued monitoring and support from the Children’s Hospital.
Katie Freestone, 28, Jay’s mum and full-time carer, said:
“We’re all absolutely amazed at the incredible progress Jay has made in a relatively short space of time. Being able to go home is fantastic as it means we can finally get back to our own routine and Jay can be comfortable in his own space.
“The care we’ve received at Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been absolutely brilliant, and we couldn’t be more grateful to his surgeon, Mr Khalid Sharif, his team and all of the staff who have looked after us so well during our time there.
“There also aren’t enough words to say thank you to the donor and their family and while we’re thrilled that Jay has been given this chance, we’re also incredibly aware of the sadness and tragedy that another family had to endure to make this possible.”
Jay, who is a huge fan of Lego, also wanted to say thank-you to all of the hospital team that have played a part in his care, along with a special message for his family. He added:
“I want to say thank-you to my mum for looking after me and my grandma and granddad, who have been telling me every day that I’m getting better.”
The specialist teams at Birmingham Children’s Hospital perform around 50 solid organ transplant operations a year – the majority of which are single organ transplantations.
Mr Khalid Sharif, Consultant Surgeon and Lead for Transplantation, said:
“This complex operation is the first of its kind we’ve performed here in decades and, as a coincidence, it’s also our 100th small bowel transplant, a milestone which very few centres in the world have achieved.
“It’s incredibly rare for this many organs to be successfully transplanted at once and shows the difference that organ donors make to the lives of others. Without the generosity and selflessness of donors, their families and loved ones, such life-saving procedures simply couldn’t take place.
“I must also say that everyone involved in the procedure deserves real credit, particularly my colleague and Consultant Transplant Surgeon, Mr Thamara Perera, who’s skill in retrieving the organs played a key part in the transplantation procedure.
“We couldn’t be happier with the progress Jay has made so far, but this will obviously need very vigilant monitoring and support over the coming months and years.”
To find out more information about organ donation, or to sign up to the organ donor register, which takes just a couple of minutes, visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk. When signing up people are asked to have conversations and express their wishes to family and loved ones.