MIAMI – An 11-month-old Japanese boy smiled and laughed in his mother’s arms Friday as doctors talked of his progress from a six-organ transplant, an operation done here because children’s organ donations are banned in Japan.
Yosuke Ohashi underwent the 8 1/2 -hour transplant of a liver, pancreas, stomach, small and large intestines and spleen on Dec. 24 at the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
“Finally we got the gift of God on Christmas Eve,” said Yukiho Ohashi, the boy’s father.
Tomoaki Kato, the University of Miami physician who led the transplant team, said the first two years after such an operation are the most difficult, but he added that there is a 90 percent survival rate for the first year.
“This child has done remarkably well compared to others,” Kato said.
Other children have received similar transplants, but this case drew interest because Japanese law does not let children under the age of 15 donate organs, forcing families to leave the country for transplants.
Kato said the law may be revised this year and this case may help implement the change.
Yosuke, who has a healthy twin sister, was 5 months old when diagnosed with “mid gut volvulus.” The condition, where the intestine twists around its root, left him with only a tiny portion of his small bowel and large intestine. His liver then deteriorated from complications of intravenous feeding.
The family will stay in Miami for six months so doctors can continue to supervise Yosuke’s recovery.