Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Baby Jazmin's life saved - Child receives liver transplant in the US; Mom worried because of medication shortage

Published:Friday | January 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Norman Grindley/Chief Photo Editor Jessica Dunn plays with her daughter Jazmin who recently returned to the island after a successful liver transplant in the United States of America.

Although being thankful and elated, the family of one-year-and-10-month-old baby Jazmin Dunn, says the journey before and after her child underwent a liver transplant in the United States of America approximately a year ago has been very rough, simply because medication is hard to source locally.

The infant is expected to remain on this medication for life.

The Gleaner published a story in September 2015, titled 'Help Baby Jazmin - Six-month-old seriously in need of liver transplant', which featured Jazmin's mother, Jessica Dunn, appealing to the nation for assistance to save the life of her baby girl after she was diagnosed with a rare liver disease.

"It's been difficult, but we are glad to be home. It's difficult, especially with her medication. She is the only patient getting that medication now. Right now, the pharmacy doesn't have any, and we have to be trying to source it overseas. But we are working on it. They said they should get by the end of next week, and it is a medication she should take twice a day, so she really shouldn't be without it.

"She is really the first baby we've had living in Jamaica after a liver transplant. They (at the hospital) don't have anybody out here that specialises in what she needs, but the team of doctors that took care of her when she was away, they are working with doctors out here. They are training them in what they need to know because they are still involved in her follow-up care," Dunn said.

JAZMIN'S RECOVERY

Jazmin has been recovering well since her release from hospital, according to her mother, but she is still very vulnerable, and if anything goes wrong, she is worried that her baby could end up back at square one.

"She is much better. Before, you could look at her and see that she was sick. Nowadays, the only time we would know if something is wrong, other than if she has a cold, is if her blood test comes back with irregular readings. We haven't had any of that since we've been back, and we've been back two or three months now.

"I hope that she has no rejection of the liver, because what they said is that if her immune system is not suppressed, it will identify her new liver as a foreign object and begin fighting it off. Once her immune system is too active, it will fight off the liver and basically she will be right back at square one."

Jessica donated a piece of her liver to her baby

Jessica Dunn, mother of one-year-and-10-month-old baby Jazmin Dunn, who had undergone a liver transplant in the United States a year ago, was very appreciative of the help that Jazmin has received, and even while reflecting on the very rough journey, she was able to smile as she held little Jazmin during an interview with The Gleaner yesterday at their St Catherine home.

Her advice to mothers going through similar cases is simply to have faith.

"I would like to say thank you to everybody who not just donated money, but all who supported and helped us to find a hospital. Other people, who might be in a similar situation, I would say, just have faith! Everybody is happy to have her back. From the moment she got back to Jamaica, she remembered everybody. She is just so cheerful and active."

Jazmin was admitted in a Delaware hospital on the same day she arrived in the United States in early November, 2016. Her surgery was done on December, 9, 2016. Jazmin's mother had to donate a small portion of her liver to her child. Because Jazmin's body experienced a slight rejection of the liver, after she was released, she had to get weekly check-ups, three biopsies, and had to be put on steroids in order for her body to accept the new liver. She is currently on a low dosage of steroids.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com