Adam Bruzzese and his wife are happy their family is healing. After their twins were born, they found out Little Charlie had a liver disease and needed a transplant. His father didn't hesitate when tests showed he would be the perfect donor.
"I was like, let's do it tomorrow," he said. "You can do it without anesthesia. Let's go to work!"
Traditional transplant surgery for Adam would have meant months of recovery, taking him away from work and helping his wife care for Charlie. But now there is a new transplant procedure, done only at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York that cuts recovery time in half for donors. Adam had laparoscopic surgery. Instead of a major incision, surgeons made just five small ones to remove part of the liver.
"Most of our donors who have undergone laparoscopic donation have been able to go back to work in 3-4 weeks. They're off of pain medicine usually in 7-10 days," Dr. Benjamin Samstein said.
Three months later, while Charlie is doing well, he's on drugs that suppress his immune system so his body doesn't reject his new liver. Now his parents worry about keeping germs away.
"He's not allowed to play with his cousins, not allowed to have visitors, we wash everything over and over again," Adam said.
But this Father's Day, the Bruzzese family will be celebrating, and Adam is counting his blessings.
"Just thankful that I get to be a dad, too, and James has his brother, and it's going well," he said.
Doctors say if all goes well, Charlie will grow up healthy.
Doctors say right now the surgery is only available between adult donors and child recipients, but they hope to expand to include older recipients next year.
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