Eight-Year-Old Habiba Bibi “A Little Miracle”
A Birmingham based school girl has been called “a little miracle” after undergoing a total of four liver transplants in just over a year.
Eight-year-old Habiba Bibi had her first operation in 2001, however when her organs began to fail the following year, she was rushed to hospital to have three more liver transplants in 13 days.
Worried parents, Farzana Younas, 37, and Amjib Mahmood, 41, were told she had three days to live “unless they found a donor.”
Mother Farzana said, “My husband started planning her funeral when they broke the news. We were in tears and didn’t think they would find another liver in time. But by some miracle they did.”
“Habiba had her first transplant aged five after she was diagnosed with the condition biliary atresia as a newborn. But just over a year later she began feeling unwell, suffering pains in her stomach and tiredness. Tests showed she had cysts on her liver and she needed a new one urgently.”
“Habiba was put on the transplant list and within days a match was found and she underwent surgery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on November 2012. But medics broke the news that the organ had failed to work – and that another transplant was needed.”
“She was at the top of the list in England waiting for a liver. Another donor was found and she received her third liver.”
“However, there was a lack of blood flow to the organ because her blood was clotting – she would need yet another transplant. Nine days later she was given her fourth liver transplant – and is now thriving.”
“We wondered whether her body could survive it all. But on the fourth attempt it did work.”
“When Habiba woke up four weeks after her final transplant she was unable to speak and used sign language to communicate. Two weeks later she said her first words. “She whispered ‘mum and dad’, and we had tears in our eyes.”
“Now Habiba’s a chatterbox,” laughed Farzana.
“She is full of energy and is doing very well at school – in fact she’s on the same level as her brother who is one year older than her. She does get tired and I have to watch her, but she is back to her usual self.
“We’ve had so much help and support from the hospital and the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).”
Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of CLDF, said: “We support families throughout the UK who are affected by childhood liver disease and this is the first time we have come across a child who has received four liver transplants.
“We have been inspired by Habiba’s bravery and also by her family’s commitment to raising awareness and funds for CLDF to help other children in her situation. We’re delighted that she is now back at school and wish her and her family the very best.”
Habiba’s consultant Jane Hartley, at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “It is very rare for anyone to have four liver transplants especially children. This liver is working very, very well and I hope she will not need another transplant.’’