A seven-year-old boy is back home in Market Harborough this week after a remarkable five-organ transplant operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital .
Jay Crouch received two new kidneys, a pancreas, liver and bowel during a single 10 hour operation.
His complex condition meant he had never been able to eat and digest food, having to be fed intravenously.
But for the first time he was able to chew and swallow a tiny piece of toast at the hospital at the weekend.
“Have you swallowed it?” his mum Katie Freestone asks, in a film shot at the hospital .
“Yes” replies the chirpy Jay. “Where does it go now?”
The youngster had suffered with a condition called short bowel syndrome since he was six weeks old, when doctors discovered his small intestine was twisted, causing complications with his kidneys and other vital organs.
Since then, he has undergone continuous treatment, but the additional strain on his body resulted in the failure of his own organs, meaning the multiple transplants became necessary.
The rare operation was the first of its kind performed at the Children’s Hospital in around 20 years, and the first on record involving five organs in one operation. It required a hospital team of 12.
Jay is now recovering well at home in Market Harborough, excited to begin a new life as he works towards eating a full diet in the coming years.
Katie Freestone, 28, Jay’s mum and full-time carer, said: “We’re all absolutely amazed at the incredible progress Jay has made in a relatively short space of time.
“The care we’ve received at Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been absolutely brilliant, and we couldn’t be more grateful to his surgeon, Mr Khalid Sharif, his team and all of the staff who have looked after us so well during our time there.”
With tears in her eyes, she added: “There aren’t enough words to say thank you to the donor and their family”.
Jay added: “I want to say thank you to my mum for looking after me, and my grandma and granddad, who have been telling me every day that I’m getting better.”
Mr Khalid Sharif, Consultant Surgeon and Lead for Transplantation, said: “It’s incredibly rare for this many organs to be successfully transplanted at once and shows the difference that organ donors make to the lives of others.
“Without the generosity and selflessness of donors, their families and loved ones, such life-saving procedures simply couldn’t take place.
“We couldn’t be happier with the progress Jay has made so far, but this will obviously need very vigilant monitoring and support over the coming months and years.”
To find out more about organ donation, or to sign up to the organ donor register visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk. When signing up, you should also express your wishes to family and loved ones.