Patient Stories 24 Jun 2021 Back to Stories

14-Year-Old’s Life is Saved Thanks to Liver Donor

Ruqayya arrived at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in a coma and on life support. Without a liver transplant, doctors estimated that she had only hours to live.

Ruqayya had a difficult childhood, suffering from complications with her liver. When she was 14, her condition worsened significantly, and she was hospitalized. Her liver began to fail, and she was put on life support. Her family feared that she would not survive.

Ruqayya was airlifted to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and moved to the Intensive Care Unit where doctors feared that without a liver transplant, she had only hours to live.

Doctors immediately began the search for a donor liver. Fortunately, a donor was found almost right away and after a very thorough assessment of the liver, it was deemed a match for Ruqayya.

Ruqayya’s family were extremely fearful of the situation and the implications of having such a major operation. They had lost Ruqayya’s older sister to liver failure, but they put their trust in the hands of the doctors. Within less than 24 hours of her arrival at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a liver transplant was performed from a deceased donor.

The operation was very complex and as with many cases of acute liver failure, Ruqayya was at a high risk of complications from the anesthesia and from edema of the brain, which can lead to permanent brain damage. The multidisciplinary team from Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Transplant Program, supported by experts from the Anesthesiology, Digestive Diseases, and Gastroenterology & Hepatology Institutes, worked together to perform the operation.

The transplant was a complete success. Ruqayya woke less than 48 hours after the surgery and her new liver was functioning properly and her other organs were all working well.

Ruqayya recovered from the operation and today, thanks to the deceased donor, she is thriving. She must follow a schedule of medication to maintain a high level of immunosuppression and keep the liver healthy, but doctors expect her to live a long and normal life.

Ruqayya’s mother says, “Thank God for the doctors who did their best and thank you to the liver donor.”

The doctors from the Transplant Center urge people to consider organ donation, as it really can save lives.

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