Transplant comes just in time to save Maryland baby

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WASHINGTON — Baby Blake just got his liver!


Less than two weeks after 11Alive’s news partner WUSA first reported on 5-month-old Blake Thomas’ struggle with liver cancer, a family came forward at their worst moment to help.

The Clinton, Md. boy got a transplant over the weekend, and is now recovering at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. His transplant surgeon said his prognosis is excellent. He’s still in the pediatric intensive care unit and still hooked up to a mass of lines and monitors.

But his doctors say Blake Thomas is going to be fine.

“I’m very grateful for Thanksgiving this year,” said his mother Rebecca.

When we saw him two weeks ago, Blake was smiling, but struggling. Doctors had run him through five rounds of chemo to stall the tumor that was growing in his liver. It wasn’t clear he could take much more. He desperately needed a transplant.

“We were kind of pressed up against a wall and running out of time. But we got a good organ just in time. And it was really wonderful for him,” said Dr. Thomas Fishbein, director of the Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute.

The little boy has been through far more than most of us could take. Born almost 20 weeks premature, about the size of his father’s hand, he spent his first 130 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Then he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

“One thing after the other. I just felt like, ‘What next?’” his mother said.

But then, this weekend, the family of a young man killed suddenly agreed to donate his liver to save Blake. Rebecca Thomas is shaken that her joy comes at their grief.

“I would love the opportunity to at least meet the parents of the young man who saved my son’s life,” she said, choking back tears.

There was a huge outpouring from our community after we first told you about Blake’s desperate search for a liver. Three live donors who didn’t even know the family had lined up to help him. But now that Blake has been saved by a deceased trauma victims, those volunteers may still be able to save the lives of other babies.

Dr. Fishbein says there are two other babies he’s treating right now who really need help

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