Payson Infant No Closer To Transplant

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Payson infant Geoffrey Byrne is still in a University of Southern California hospital and still in need of a liver transplant.

His doctors lost their surgical backup plan when his parents were ruled out as partial liver donors.

He is still undergoing transfusions to replace the blood he loses every day.

"Otherwise, he smiles and plays just as you'd expect a healthy 7-month-old to do," Geoffrey's mom, Becca Jones, said in a telephone interview.

Five weeks ago, Geoffrey's doctors were saying that if a liver donor was not found within 30 days, the boy would need to receive a transplanted liver from a living donor probably from his mother or father, Greg Byrne.

Since that time, however, the doctors have changed their minds, having ruled out both parents as suitable donors.

"They don't want to do that with us," Jones said.

All hope is now being placed on finding a deceased donor.

"We've had three false alarms when we thought we finally had a donor," Jones said. "That's been really disappointing. Either their livers were too big or looked fatty. (The doctors) want one that's perfect before they put it in. So we're still waiting. They'll be able to keep him alive until a donor is found. They haven't really said anything, but they are making me feel confident that it's going to be okay until he gets a donor, whether they have to keep doing more transfusions or hook him up to more tubes."

Meanwhile, she said, "Geoffrey's been in and out of intensive care. He's had well over five blood transfusions; I've lost count. He's been getting IVs constantly, lots of different medicines intravenously and orally. He's on a fluid limit; he can only drink so much. He's still yellow (from jaundice), but that won't change until he gets the transplant. And sometimes he turns really pale, because he's losing blood."

Geoffrey was born Aug. 10. Two months later he was diagnosed with the deadly disease biliary atresia the congenital absence orclosure of the ductsthat drain bile from the liver.

The disease commonly causes the livers of its victims to swell to almost twice normal size, which causes the spleen to enlarge as well.

In most cases, including Geoffrey's, the ensuing chain of events produces internal scarring, sclerosis, swelling, pressure on vital blood veins, fluid build-up around the intestines, breathing difficulties and more.

On average, there is one case of biliary atresia out of every 15,000 live births. In the United States, approximately 300 new cases are diagnosed each year. Most of those prove to be fatal.

But Becca Jones can't allow herself to think of that. Instead, she is filled with hope.

"I really want to thank the whole community for all their help and concern," she said. "God bless them."

To help Geoffrey and his family, monetary donations can be made through Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 1003739826.

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