Stranger donates part of her liver to save infant's life


Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette
Amanda Crow laughs as Ella Diekmann opens gifts from her Wednesday at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC in Lawrenceville. Ella, now 19 months old, received part of Ms. Crow's liver during surgery March 7.

Newborn Ella Diekmann had at most just two years to live if she didn’t get a new liver.

The little girl from Warren, Ohio, was born in February 2015 with just 45 centimeters of her bowels — roughly one-third the length of a typical newborn’s intestines. In the first nine days of her life, she did not pass any stool.

Six weeks later, Ella was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver that prevents normal development of bile ducts, typically causing liver failure.

Hope came last November, when a complete stranger, Amanda Crow, volunteered part of her liver to save Ella.

They and Ella’s mother, Susie Diekmann, met Wednesday morning for the first time since the transplant at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

“There just are no words,” said Ms. Diekmann, 30, a stay-at-home mother. “She saved my baby.”

Ella was first placed on a liver transplant waiting list at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, but the facility performed transplants involving only cadaver livers or those donated from living relatives, so her options were limited. Continue reading
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