Monday, September 9, 2013

Mark's Amazing Story

When he was four months old Mark was abandoned at a hospital. We can only speculate what motives led his birth parents to leave him alone that cold, November day. His assessment at the hospital revealed that Mark was born with a very large hernia and Biliary Atresia. We begin to understand... Biliary Atresia is a life-threatening GI defect that, if not treated in the first few months of life, will require a liver transplant within the first 18 months of life. At the latest.

Mark's local orphanage lacked the resources to provide life for this sweet little boy, and so he was transferred to our Beijing facility. Successfully having arranged for two liver transplants, in cooperation with a hospital in the city and their valiant head surgeon, we had hope that Mark's life would be yet another miracle.
For an orphan to receive a liver transplant is technically impossible, but we had seen it happen before and so we believed that Mark's life would also be saved.

Then Mark arrived at New Day June 19, 2013, and our faith wavered a little bit. His liver disease was more progressed than we had ever seen. His abdomen was so distended with ascites (a sign of liver failure) that he could not roll over. His eyes were golden where they should have been white and his skin was a burnt shade of orange.

Mark's case was so severe that he needed to be admitted into the hospital July 2, 2013, to receive treatment for his ascites. The necessary tests were also done and he was put on "the list." Every few days we would contact the doctors, asking for an update on Mark's condition. Each time they said that his condition was "very serious" and that he would need a transplant soon. They weren't sure that he was going to make it. Dr. Li, the head surgeon, told us July 16th that he was concerned that Mark would go into liver failure before a liver could be found for him. We were also warned that Mark was approaching a hepatic coma. He wasn't going to make it.

As the weeks stretched on the doctor's updates became more and more grim. Twice we had close calls with potential livers, but they both fell through. July 30th Mark contracted pneumonia and so was not a candidate for a transplant until he had recovered.

August 9th we got a call at 5pm. A liver was on its way to Bejing. Mark's pneumonia was gone and the liver was a good enough match to risk the surgery. But Mark was in very bad condition. His coloring had become so bad that his skin was nearly black in places. He was miserable, weak, and very sick. The surgeons warned us that his surgery was very high-risk, that his situation was much more serious than the other operations that they had done on our kids. They were concerned that he wouldn't make it and yet everyone agreed that without the surgery he had no hope at all.

Mark went into surgery at 7:45pm that night. The tireless surgeons worked through the night and, 13.5 hour later, they were done. They gave us little more information than that the surgery "went well" and was "successful." But still we couldn’t help but worry - would Mark survive the intense recovery that his ill body needed to go through?

Our fears were unfounded five hours later when Mark woke up and was extubated. Three days later he was released from ICU and into a regular ward. And each day after that Mark made more and more improvements.

His miracle came at just the right moment. It's in our books as one of the most marvelous we've ever seen.

September 6th Mark was released from the hospital. His surgeon and attending doctors and nurses all came to wish him well. They will miss their little miracle.

Dr. You, Brenda (nanny) and Dr. Li with Mark. 

The doctors and nursing staff with Mark and his nanny, Brenda. 

Dr. Li is the director of the hospital and fought hard for Mark's life. 

But we're pretty happy to have little Mark home. 


  1. Our family was volunteering at New Day and in the playroom when they got the call about Marks liver transplant. We are so glad to see these pictures and here the end of the story! Really a miracle!