A seven-year-old boy is one of the youngest patients in Britain to undergo a multi-transplant operation to successfully replace five organs.
Jay Crouch received two new kidneys, a liver, a small intestine and pancreas from a single donor.
When he was just six-weeks-old, his small intestine became twisted which caused extensive damage to his major organs.
During his life, Crouch was diagnosed with anaemia, having small bowel syndrome and chronic renal failure.
As a result of his health problems, Crouch was fed using a tube, but was able to taste and swallow food for the first time following the multiple organ transplant.
Incredibly, all five organs were removed from the donor – a child of a similar age to Crouch – in a mammoth 10-hour operation last month.
Crouch was discharged from Birmingham Children’s Hospital on Monday after four weeks, where he was the first child in 20 years to undergo the complex procedure.
On Tuesday he was back home in Market Harborough, Leics., where he is being cared for by his family.
“It’s quite incredible really because we didn’t expect it to all go so well,” Katie Freestone, Crouch’s mom, said. “We knew how amazing he is and we thought he would do well but initially we were told he would be in for a much longer period, a few months, but it’s actually only been just over four weeks, so everybody’s pretty amazed at how he’s done.”
“I knew he would do great, he’s a little superhuman, I knew he would do well,” the 28-year-old said. “My first thought when I got the phone call to say the organs were available, it was initially of sadness for the family who have lost someone at this time.
“It’s all wonderful for us but in all of it there’s quite a lot of sadness,” she said. “You can’t really express your gratitude enough towards them, there aren’t any words you can say. You can say thank you but that really doesn’t cover it.”
“Without the organs Jay wouldn’t have survived so it’s that important,” she said. “There’s nothing I could say to express my gratitude.”
Crouch celebrated being able to eat food for the first time with a slice of buttered toast.
“I had some anaesthetic at first, when we first arrived, to get the whole stuff (tubes) into my body,” he said. “I don’t know how they got stoma into my body.”
Surgeons removed Crouch’s liver, whilst the kidneys, pancreas, liver and intestine were being removed from the donor child.
The new set of organs were attached to Crouch’s aorta in his stomach, giving him bloody supply from the heart.
The blood went back to heart via the vein coming out of his liver.
The small intestine was attached to his bowel and then surgeons had to wait.
He now has four kidneys and two pancreases in his body.
“There are two connections from the vessels points of view, which is one artery giving the blood to all five organs and one vein taking the blood out of it,” Khalid Sharif, Crouch’s transplant surgeon, said. “There are two points to join the intestine and two points to join the juice from the new kidneys to the bladder.”
“If you have to join all these tasks separately there will be two joins per each organ separately, which makes a lot of joins,” Sharif said. “You need to see all the organs linking up together. If one is not doing it, that’s really heart breaking, because you do not know what is going on.”