Mokena infant back home after life saved by liver transplant

Chicago Tribune | Donna Vickroy
Mokena infant who had rare liver disease and underwent liver transplant is back home

Like a champ, Nathan Whitehead smiled brightly as he re-entered his Mokena home for the first time since June.

Then, like a 6-month-old, he burst into tears.

"He's hungry," said his mom, Christina Whitehead.

Tears of hunger from their son are a welcome sign for Christina and her husband, Rob, who watched their newborn inch too close to death's door in recent months.

"It's been a roller coaster. An emotional drain every day not knowing what's going to happen next or what they're (doctors) gonna say," Christina said. "We're so happy to have him home."

And then, just like babies are known to do, Nathan caught his mother's glance, stuck out his tongue and smiled ear to ear, kicking his blue and white Velcro Nikes furiously.

Nathan was born March 2 with a rare and aggressive liver disease. Though doctors at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago still don't know exactly what caused the scarring, or cirrhosis, that threatened to shut his body down, they did know that his only hope for survival was a liver transplant. Continue reading

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