The Doctors: What Is Biliary Atresia?
For their special color episode, The Doctors talked to a woman named Michelle about her son, Joshua, who had yellow-looking skin soon after he was born. Doctors thought it was jaundice and that it would go away soon. But the yellow color spread and became more intense after a few weeks. Michelle brought her son to the emergency room, where doctors diagnosed him with biliary atresia. Biliary atresia is a disorder in the liver drainage system that occurs after the bile duct that is responsible for flushing away waste products from the liver to the intestines isn’t formed in a baby’s body. This means there’s no place for the byproducts to go, creating a backup and enlarging the liver. Eventually, this leads to liver failure, which can cause death.
The Doctors: Kasai Procedure
Ultimately, doctors performed a Kasai procedure on Joshua to surgically bypass the blocked liver duct. This surgery would have prevented further liver damage and delayed the need for a procedure. However, the procedure failed. The doctors said Joshua had two weeks to a month to live. “It’s scary, because everyone, with their first child, they’re excited. They don’t think something like this could happen,” Michelle said of the event.
The Doctors: Liver Donation
Michelle reached out to friends and family on Facebook, trying to find a liver donor. 30 different people tried to find out if they were a match. Everyone was rejected. Michelle was terrified and nothing seemed to be working. A friend of hers on Facebook, Trinity, saw her post and she said she was his blood type. She had a daughter of her own and she said if her daughter was sick like him, she would do everything she could. The team accepted Michelle as a perfect match.
The Doctors: Life After Biliary Atresia
Joshua is fine now. It’s a year after the surgery and he’s a happy, healthy baby. Dr. Rachael said when she heard this story, she assumed Trinity and Michelle were best friends. But it wasn’t like that. Trinity said that she had a little girl just a month older than Joshua and she was experiencing the mommy milestones that Michelle wasn’t able to experience. “I wanted her to be experience the same mommyhood I was going to be able to go through,” Trinity said. She also said she would do it again and she encourages everyone to do it.
The Doctors: Gift For Joshua & Trinity
The Doctors gave a bunch of toys to Joshua, including a cool race car he could fit inside and travel around in. They also gave a vacation trip to Trinity to a spa in California for two because of her great gift to Joshua.