Family Spends First Healthy Holiday Season with Daughter after Liver Transplant

Northwestern Medicine
Organ Donation and Transplantation December 04, 2013
The Camargo family has much to be thankful for this holiday season. This was the first Thanksgiving 19-month-old Jazlyn Camargo was able to spend with her family thanks to the love and devotion of her father, who donated part of his liver to save her life.

Jazlyn Camargo in the arms of her fatherJazlyn was diagnosed with biliary atresia* early in her life, a life-threatening condition in infants that can lead to liver failure and occurs when the liver’s bile duct is blocked or absent. Jazlyn had two surgeries to try and prevent liver failure, but her condition still progressed. When it was clear their daughter needed a liver transplant, Jazlyn’s parents turned to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for help.

Jazlyn’s father, Eduardo Camargo, decided that he wanted to donate part of his liver to save his daughter’s life. He was evaluated by the multidisciplinary team at Northwestern’s Hispanic Liver Transplant Program which was able to meet his bilingual and cultural needs to address all of his questions and concerns regarding a possible living donor liver transplant for his daughter.

But Eduardo had “fatty liver” and his liver wasn’t healthy enough to donate. If he was going to provide a living organ donation to his daughter, he would need to lose weight and reduce the amount of fatty tissue in his liver.

“I had known I had fatty liver disease for a while before my daughter needed part of my liver, but I had trouble losing weight,” said Eduardo Camargo. “I had struggled with the goal of losing ten pounds before.”

However, once he became determined to help save his daughter’s life that struggle didn’t last long. Eduardo worked hard and lost 40 pounds in two short months by running daily and maintaining a healthy diet. Most importantly, he was able to improve the health of himself and his liver. Eduardo went from having fatty liver disease to having a very healthy liver, allowing him to become a living donor.

“I was so happy to find out I could help my daughter,” he said. “I lost a lot of weight and it was such a relief to know I had lost it in my liver too.”

On Nov.19, 2012, the living donor liver transplant was successfully performed. Today, Jazlyn is happy and healthy, and her family is looking forward to celebrating the rest of holiday season with her in good health.

“Many people know that you can be a living kidney donor, but few know that you can be a living liver donor,” said Juan Carlos Caicedo, MD, transplant surgeon and director of the Hispanic Transplant Program. “Only a portion of the liver is required for a transplant since the liver is able to regenerate in both donor and recipient.”

“Everyone can make a difference by being an organ donor,” said Caicedo. “Donating an organ is the biggest act of love as Pope John Paul II said, and Eduardo’s effort to donate a portion of his own liver to save his daughter is a remarkable example.”

To learn more about Northwestern’s transplant program, visit the Kovler Organ Transplantation Center online, or call 312-695-0870.
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