9-yr-old girl bounces back after 6-organ transplant
By Agencies | Posted 07-Feb-2012
When a rare and relentless tumour devoured six of nine-year-old Alannah Shevenell's main organs, her chances of survival looked slim.
However, thanks to a ground-breaking six-organ transplant at Children's Hospital Boston, she is now set to make a steady recovery.
On the road to recovery: Alannah underwent a 14-and-a-half hour surgery where doctors removed the tumour from her body
Alannah of Maine received a new oesophagus, liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas and small intestine after losing her own to the myofibroblastic tumour.
Hospital officials say it was the first known oesophageal transplant in the world and the largest number of organs transplanted into a person at one time in New England.
"That tumour was like a monster, It was sticky. It was slimy. It was like an octopus, reaching out and consuming her organs," said Alannah's grandmother Debi Skolas.
The multi-organ transplant was her last hope, but she had to wait a year for a suitable donor. "We needed to remove all the organs because the tumour had grown to basically encircle the blood supply," said Dr Heung Bae Kim, director of the hospital's Paediatric Transplant Center.
Doctors eventually found a donor and Dr Kim led his team through the complicated 14-and-a-half hour surgery. Alannah is now back at the home she shares with her grandparents, but she will have to have regular check-ups throughout her life.