PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Doctors say a Prince George man who received a new liver, pancreas, stomach and bowel in a 12-hour surgery last August is fighting for his life while in an induced coma in a Vancouver hospital.
Bill MacIver says his son Gairett, 19, took a sudden turn for the worse was put on life support.
Doctors put him into an induced coma to keep him motionless so a breathing machine could administer the maximum oxygen, and dialysis helped his failing kidneys.
Bill MacIver says the doctors' plan was to keep the man alive through the night but he managed to rally.
By the next day, his pulse rate was down to 75 from 130 and his blood pressure reading had improved enough to discontinue the blood pressure medication.
Organ Transplantation Developments
Organ transplant is still a developing science. In recent years, the medical industry has made advancements in organ transplantation using partial organs, especially in the case of liver transplants; retina stem cell transplants to restore sight; and even using artificial and animal organs to replace human organs that fail.
Multi-transplant surgeries such as Gairett's are especially difficult to perform and can be subject to numerous complications.
Gairett also had his spleen and gall bladder removed during his transplant surgery at Toronto General Hospital last August.
Although he was given only a slim chance of coming through the surgery, he survived it, battling many ups and downs until he was well enough to come home in January.
His father remains optimistic Gairett will make it through his latest challenge as well.
"The nurse told us she had never seen anyone crash so fast and be able to improve from it," Bill said. "We know there is damage to his lungs and kidneys, but we don't know how much. He certainly is in big trouble, but once again, we have a chance, and we intend to use it to keep helping Gairett fight on."
He had spent most of April and part of May in Vancouver receiving treatment for Graft-versus-Host disease, a common side effect of transplants that, in Gairett's case, caused a rash.
The teen had just returned home when pneumonia struck and he was taken back by air ambulance on May 17. Gairett's rare and virtually unknown condition began in 2001 when he had a series of broken legs.
Doctors concluded that the mysterious condition involved an arterial venous malformation in the bowel that would bleed out, causing damage to his stomach and liver.