One Donated Liver, Two Young Lives Saved

Patients receive rare split liver transplant at same hospital

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rich Hein/Chicago Sun-Times
    Christian Liberto was No. 86 on the donor transplant list, but was bumped up after the 85 patients in front of him weren't eligible for a partial organ.

    Christmas came early this year for two patients at Children's Memorial Hospital, both recipients of a split liver transplant.

    A split liver transplant is a rare procedure where two patients receive a piece of the donor organ.

    Highland Park's Christian Liberto, 17, and 2-year-old Frank Sroka of Bridgeport were both in need of a transplant, and were simultaneously operated on last Friday when a donor organ became available, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    But what makes the operations even more remarkable was that Frank was No. 1 on the donor list and Christian was No. 86, but when the 85 individuals in front of him were not eligible to receive a partial organ, his turn came up.

    Doctors call it a "perfect storm," but Christian's mother calls is a "Christmas miracle."

    Christian suffers from primary sclerosing cholangitis, the same disease that killed Chicago Bear great Walter Payton. He'll head home in about a week while Frank, who suffers from the fatal liver disease biliary atresia, will have to stay longer, the Sun-Times reported.