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Rare Transplant Gives B.C Youngster 4 New Organs

A rare transplant at TG Hospital gave a B.C. youngster a bowel, liver, pancreas and stomach. Lori MacIver of Prince George, B.C. was told to prepare// for the death of her son. She said, "They were telling me to prepare and to accept, but I still wasn't on that page."

Her son Gairett, 18, is now recovering following a high-risk, four-organ transplant operation on Aug. 1 at Toronto General Hospital. He now has a new bowel, stomach, liver and pancreas, all from the same donor. According to his parents and doctors his success is nothing short of a miracle.

While bowel transplants by themselves are extremely uncommon multiple organ transplants are still rarer, not mention dangerous as well. However Gairett was left with no choice. He suffered from improperly formed blood vessels in his bowel that caused bleeding that in turn led to damage to his stomach and liver.

His doctors had tried other less risky attempts to fix the problem, but to no avail. Finally he and his parents had to commit to an operation that doctors state is one of the most difficult to perform.

Dr. George Therapondos, one of Gairett's transplant physicians said, "Only a handful of these procedures have ever been performed in Canada and the U.S. Even expert surgeons need to acquire the skill for this."

Therapondos was a member of a team of more than 20 doctors, critical-care workers and nurses who were dedicated to the young man's recovery.

Lori recalls being told that because her son needed four new organs, there was a good chance doctors wouldn't find a donor on time. She said, "We really were told that even though we're talking about having a multi-organ transplant, the possibility is that Gairett will most likely die from an infection in his body before he ever gets that transplant."

When the call came, Gairett's parents had him on a plane to Toronto and on the operating table in less than 24 hours. As Bill MacIver
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