There are currently over 110,000 people on the national transplant waiting list. According to the U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation, 22 people pass away each day waiting for a donation that never comes.
Heartbreaking statistics such as these were no doubt running through the minds of the McCabe family when their infant son, Daniel, was put on the national waiting list. Daniel was born with biliary atresia, a serious liver condition which blocks a patient's bile ducts. It occurs in 1 in every 30,000 births. Although the condition can be fatal, life expectancy can be greatly assured with a liver transplant.
However, as the McCabe family knew well, the waiting list for a liver transplant could be weeks, months, and even years. In the meantime, their 5-month-old Daniel would continue to suffer from his illness and perhaps fall victim to his condition. It was a reality his parents could barely face.
But then something amazing happened. Something that some might even call a Christmas miracle.
Within just 40 minutes of being placed on the transplant list, Daniel received a match for a liver donor. Yes, in less time than it takes to watch an episode of "Westworld," this sweet little boy was given a life-saving donation.
His family could hardly believe it, and neither could his gastroenterologist and pediatrician, Dr. Jeffrey Brown. For a patient to receive a match in such a short time is nearly unheard of. Justin Boese, Organ Procurement Specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital, released a statement about the amazing turn of events, which in part said:
"This is one of the most incredible things that has happened in the five years that I've been here. The shortest wait time I have seen here was at least 12 hours, so 40 minutes is very unusual."
Despite her elation and fierce gratitude, Daniel's mother, Melody, felt a pang of sorrow for the donor's family. We can only hope that their loved one's selfless decision to be a donor brings them some measure of comfort and healing as one precious little boy will now get to enjoy a long, healthy life thanks to this gesture of love.
To become a donor or learn more about organ donation, please visit the U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation.
h/t: ABC News