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How an Urgent Liver Transplant Saved a Child's Life

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On May 4, 2023, Stephanie and Jesse Hill’s lives changed forever. Their five-year-old daughter Amelia "Mia" was unresponsive.

After rushing to Ocean Springs Hospital and learning Amelia’s blood sugar was low and her liver enzymes were dangerously high, Amelia was immediately airlifted by the Ochsner Flight Care team to Ochsner Hospital for Children, where they learned she was in in acute liver failure. Amelia's dad Jesse said, "As she was lifting off, you would think that me and my wife would just break down, but we didn't. It was the most peaceful feeling we had knowing she was going to the right place. She was in the right hands. They lifted her off, and it was like, 'we got her.'"

Ochsner Children’s Hospital is home to the largest, most comprehensive pediatric liver transplant program in the region. The Ochsner Pediatric Liver Transplant program offers the full range of liver transplant options. This means children in Louisiana and Mississippi spend less time on the waiting list and have the best chance to get back to being healthy and active again.

Ryan Himes, MD, medical director of pediatric liver transplantation at Ochsner Hospital for Children, oversaw Amelia’s case. Amelia began to receive care immediately from physicians and nurses in gastroenterology, neurology, transplant and more. She was also told she’d need a liver transplant. Jesse said, "Every one of those ICU nurses were like champions. They made us feel like she is in good hands, she is in the best hands that she could be in at this moment."

Within the next few days, Amelia had found a match and underwent liver transplantation surgery. It was a success. She began physical therapy to rebuild her strength and has been getting stronger and stronger every day.

Amelia is now a healthy, happy child, but her parents Stephanie and Jesse know that, if not for her incredible care team at Ochsner Hospital for Children, this might not be the case.“

Dr. Himes said, "Patients like Mia are why I like doing what I do. To see someone who is really really ill and then see them turn around to be a normal kid again."

Each registered donor can save up to nine lives. Visit to learn how you can become a donor.

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