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Following Controversy, Girl With Disability Receives Transplant


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A New Jersey girl who made national news when her parents said she was denied a life-saving organ transplant due to her intellectual disability has now received a new kidney.

Chrissy Rivera said that she successfully donated a kidney to her daughter, Amelia, in early July. The young girl is now at home recovering from the transplant.

“Happy and content, Amelia is back to smiling, rolling and waving at herself in the mirror,” Rivera wrote in a blog post this week.

The family made headlines last year when Rivera said that a doctor at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told her that a transplant would not be possible for her then-3-year-old daughter because she is “mentally retarded.” The story went viral, prompting more than 50,000 signatures to an online petition asking the hospital to reconsider.

The hospital subsequently apologized for how it handled the case and agreed to evaluate Amelia. She was cleared by doctors for a transplant last summer.

Once Amelia’s kidney function dropped below 10 percent, doctors proceeded with the transplant on July 3 of this year. She was released from the hospital on July 12 but was back the next day because of an infection before eventually going home 24 days after the transplant procedure, her mother said.

“By no means was the road easy, but with the tremendous support of family and the exceptional expertise and teamwork of the doctors, nurses and hospital staff at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the transplant was successful,” Rivera wrote.

Officials with the hospital confirmed that the transplant took place and said that Amelia was discharged on Saturday. Citing the patient’s request for privacy, a spokesman declined to comment further.

Amelia has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a chromosomal disorder affecting about 1 in 50,000 people that’s marked by the presence of intellectual disability, developmental delay, seizures and distinct facial characteristics.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. Maria Hrabowski says:

    I am relieved at the outcome. I have to say however, that people with disability often get less attention from medical professionals than their typical peers with similar afflictions. When the communication with the patient is a problem some of the doctor use it as an excuse not to be more thorough but to do less and spent less time with patient. Sadly, this happened to the education as well. The lower so called IQ the less willing the teacher are to teach. The student who needs more gets much less.
    It has to be said, however, that the life of a person with disability is not worth less preserving than that of person without it. The person with disability I know best enjoys the richness of life and goes through the range of emotions and given a chance could learn and be very helpful and productive.

  2. John Cresswell-Plant says:

    This young girl’s very lucky! Britain – England in particular! – operates the “Quality of Life” Standard which means anyone born disabled can legally be refused life-saving treatments.

  3. Shsron Jodock-King says:

    We all deserve the best of care no manner what disablity we have.

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