15 year old Demi-Lee Brennan was 9 years when due to some virus, her liver was destroyed. She had only 48 hours left to live. Miraculously, came along a 12 year old boy’s donated liver. In a 10 hour long operation along with the heavy doses of Immuno-suppressant drugs, she got that liver. Everything was business as usual.
9 months later she had to be readmitted as her conditioned had deteriorated. That is when the doctors found her blood group was O+. Well, it had been recorded as O- earlier! O+ was the blood group of the donor 12 yr kid! Her parents were both O-, so she could not have been O+!
The Rh (+/-) factor is inherited separately from the ABO blood types. Similarly to the masking effect of the O gene in ABO blood types, the Rh negative (Rh-) gene is also masked by the presence of a Rh positive (Rh+) genotype. Therefore, a person may have a Rh + blood type and can still have an Rh – gene (See the accompanying chart). Furthermore, 2 parents with Rh + blood types can have a child with Rh – blood type.
So they did the tests again. And still she was O+! That showed the unbelievable – that her own blood group had changed to that of the donors! The head of hematology, Julie Curtin could not believe this. But this meant that the immuno-suppressants had to be stopped and NOT increased as was the prescription until then! Her body was doing the ultimate act of acceptance – quite unlike a regular and normal bodies – which reject donor organs! Rather her own blood was breaking down!!
“We then realised it was her own residual cells which were causing the problem and we needed to get rid of them. And that’s when we knew we had to convince the doctors that Demi’s immuno-suppressant drug regime should be stopped, rather than increased.”
Now, Demi-lee is a healthy 15 year old who is into sports and looks forward to participating in Australian Idol.
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