New liver, new life
With Gable in liver failure, he was designated priority status and placed on the waiting list for a new organ Sept. 28, 2010. Just two days later, he was on the way to the operating room at Children’s Mercy to get his new liver, and begin his new life.
Walter Andrews, MD, FAAP, FACS, and Richard J. Hendrickson, MD, FAAP, FACS, transplant surgeons, performed the lifesaving operation for Gable.
All went smoothly with his surgery and recovery. Eight short days later, he was out of the hospital, spending the remainder of his recovery at nearby Ronald McDonald House.
“A couple of days after we released him from the hospital, I remember Gable texted us a photo of himself shooting hoops at Ronald McDonald House,” Dr. Daniel said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
And Gable has been defying the odds ever since.
Only three weeks after receiving his transplant, he was back home in Lowry City, making occasional trips to Children’s Mercy for check-ups, but continuing with his usual routine.
Over the years, Gable saw less and less of Dr. Daniel and the Children’s Mercy Liver Care team.
“The team continued to monitor me for signs of rejection and my overall health,” Gable said. “Except for a blocked bile duct my senior year in high school, I haven’t had any issues with my new liver.”
Today, Gable and Ally live half a mile from the farm where he grew up, and he’s learned to take life one day at a time.
“I have never let this keep me from doing what I wanted. Most days I forget about all of it. But I am really thankful for the fact that organ donation is possible, for the sacrifice my donor family made, and for the wonderful care I received at Children’s Mercy,” he said.
Though Gable transitioned to adult care at the University of Kansas Medical Center a few years ago, he says he really misses his Children’s Mercy team.
“They were the absolute best,” Gable added. “They were knowledgeable, kind and friendly. I can’t imagine a care provider doing any better. I honestly miss them.”
And they miss him, too.
“That’s the bittersweet thing about being in pediatric care,” Dr. Daniel admitted. “Our patients grow up and move on, but that’s what they’re supposed to do. Gable is a testament to what happens when you put together a great team of professionals who provide best-in-class care.
“We’re trying to give kids a chance to live the rest of their lives successfully. If everything goes as planned, they can do wonderfully, just like Gable.”