Five-month-old boy dies days after hopes of a life-saving liver transplant fell through

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A five-month-old baby boy has died after his parents put out a plea for a life-saving partial liver transplant from a living donor.

Marcus Albers was born in October 2018 with an extremely rare genetic disease that changes the way cells in the body communicate and attacks the liver, reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Waukesha told his parents, Anthony and Whitney, that he wouldn’t live unless he had a transplant.  

It seemed last week that a donor was lined up for the infant, but that fell through and Marcus had to be put on a ventilator before he passed away yesterday morning. 

Marcus Albers, five months (pictured), was born in October 2018 with Immunodeficiency 47, a rare genetic disease that changes the way cells in the body communicate and attacks the liver

Marcus Albers, five months (pictured), was born in October 2018 with Immunodeficiency 47, a rare genetic disease that changes the way cells in the body communicate and attacks the liver

Both Marcus (pictured) and his older brother, Dominic, two, were diagnosed with the disease

Dominic will need a liver transplant, but in the future because his version of Immunodeficiency 47 is not as aggressive. Pictured: Marcus

Both Marcus (left and right) and his older brother, Dominic, two, were diagnosed with the disease. Dominic will need a liver transplant, but in the future because his version of Immunodeficiency 47 is not as aggressive

Immunodeficiency 47 is linked to the X chromosome and is characterized by recurrent bacterial infections, liver dysfunction and jaundice, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Patients can also have neurological disabilities such as seizures, mild intellectual disability and behavioral abnormalities. 

According to a 2016 study from Radboud University in the Netherlands, there were only 11 other males in the world with the condition, making Marcus the twelfth.

Two patients died in early childhood and three had hearing loss and hyperopia, a vision condition in which nearby objects are blurry.

Both Marcus and his older brother, Dominic, two, were diagnosed with the disease.

Dominic will need a liver transplant, but not immediately because his version of Immunodeficiency 47 is not as aggressive.

None of Marcus’s family members qualified as a donor, so Anthony and Whitney asked if someone from the public could help.

According to WVLT, doctors only needed 25 percent of the donor’s liver for the transplant. 

Thousands lined up to be screened and, last month, it seemed that Marcus was going to get a transplant after a match was found.

However, on April 2, the morning of his surgery, doctors had to cancel the surgery because the match wasn’t perfect.

Doctors placed Marcus in the intensive care unit and told his parents that unless a donor was found, he only had three weeks left to live.

On April 10, at 4am, Marcus ‘passed away peacefully in our arms, with his caring doctors, loving nurses and amazing staff by his side’, his family wrote in a post.

Doctors only needed 25 percent of a living donor's liver for the transplant. Last week, it was believed that a donor was found but the match was not perfect. Pictured: Marcus with his mother, Whitney

Doctors only needed 25 percent of a living donor’s liver for the transplant. Last week, it was believed that a donor was found but the match was not perfect. Pictured: Marcus with his mother, Whitney

Unless a donor was found, Marcus only had three weeks left to live. He had to be placed on a ventilator before he passed away on April 10. Pictured: Whitney, left, and Anthony with their sons Dominic (in yellow) and Marcus

Unless a donor was found, Marcus only had three weeks left to live. He had to be placed on a ventilator before he passed away on April 10. Pictured: Whitney, left, and Anthony with their sons Dominic (in yellow) and Marcus

The Transplant Center, a joint program of Froedtert Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, issued a statement expressing its sympathy.

‘Our care teams are grieving with the Albers. Their family is in our thoughts and have our deepest sympathy. Nobody should have to endure the loss of a child,’ it read in part.

‘We are grateful for how our community stepped forward in such a remarkable way to support the Albers family. Thousands of individuals signed up to be evaluated as potential donors.’

A family friend started a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of the baby’s medical expenses. So far, nearly $25,000 was raised out of an initial $20,000 goal. 

‘If medical expenses are less than the amount raised, the remainder will be donated to an organ donation charity,’ a message on the page read.

The family is holding a memorial service and funeral for Marcus at the Max Sass Funeral Home in Franklin on Sunday, April 14, at 1.00pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to Donate Life Wisconsin to help others who need pediatric organ donation. 

According to the organization, there are nearly 114,000 people in the US currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. 

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