Published: December 12th, 2011

Category: CMN Ambassador Stories, Patient Stories

Brooke started out her life as a healthy, beautiful baby. However, soon after her two-month check-up at her local pediatrician’s office, Brooke began to develop signs of jaundice. Ultimately, Brooke became very sick and was airlifted to Shands Children’s Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. A team of UF physicians diagnosed Brooke with acute liver failure from parvovirus, a disease commonly associated with dogs and cats. Parvovirus is uncommon among children and most that do contract the deadly virus have little chance of survival. Brooke was immediately placed at the top of the transplant waiting list. Her life was in greater jeopardy with each day as she waited for a new liver.

Eventually, Brooke underwent a liver transplant. Unfortunately, the virus returned and destroyed her new liver. Each day became more and more precious for Brooke. In order to keep her alive, while she waited for a second liver transplant, Brooke was placed on ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation) because her lungs also became infected and were failing. ECMO helps babies breathe by continuously drawing blood out, then circulating it through the machine to add oxygen and remove carbon dioxide before pumping it back into the patient. Just days before her first birthday, Brooke would receive the perfect gift – a new liver! But, she would continue to fight for her life during her second and third liver transplants. Very high doses of antiviral agents were used after her transplants, which caused renal failure. She was on dialysis for three months. Ultimately, her lungs and kidneys recovered. She beat the virus and after her fourth liver transplant is again healthy!

Brooke certainly has had many ups and downs, but by her bright eyes and contagious smile, one would never know it.