Blow for family as Wiktoria to stay in UK care over Christmas
AN IRISH schoolgirl who underwent two liver transplants this year has to remain in a London hospital for Christmas after suffering a setback.
It had been hoped that Wiktoria Kubaczyk (8), from Headford, Co Galway, could be moved to Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin for Christmas.
However, concerns about her kidneys forced doctors to delay her transfer.
Wiktoria (pictured) has been in King's College Hospital in London since undergoing an emergency liver transplant on July 30.
Her condition was critical as she awaited a second liver transplant after the initial donation proved unsuitable.
Surgeons had been desperately awaiting a matching liver for the second transplant and had contemplated using a partial donation from one of the schoolgirl's parents before a suitable organ became available in October.
After the second successful transplant, her parents were hopeful that the schoolgirl would be home for the new year. That hope was dashed after Wiktoria's recovery was slower than anticipated, although she is improving.
"They have done a biopsy on her liver which shows it's working fine but there has been difficulty with her kidneys," said family friend Fr Ray Flaherty.
Doctors are particularly concerned about the little girl's kidneys, which have been affected by her prolonged use of a ventilator.
"The tracheotomy and the second surgery have taken their toll. She still needs assistance breathing through a ventilator and that has taken a toll on her other organs, especially her kidneys," Fr Flaherty added.
The setback has been a fresh blow to Wiktoria's parents, Mario and Ana, who are originally from Poland, and have stayed by her bedside in ICU since she was flown to London by the Air Corps in July.
"Every day they hope for progress but it is a long road and it will take a little while more. Mario and Ana stay by her bedside until she falls asleep each night. They have been in London five months and all they know is the hospital and the apartment. Their lives revolve totally around her and her progress," said Fr Flaherty.
"They had hoped to at least be in Dublin by now but it wasn't to be. They don't know when they will actually make it home," he added.
Fr Flaherty has praised the support offered by the local community in Headford, who have raised in the region of €20,000 to help cover the family's costs while in London.
"The support has been amazing and people genuinely want to do something for the family in what has been an incredibly difficult time for them," he added.
In July, Wiktoria was flown by the Aer Corp to King's College Hospital in London, where doctors said she had only an hour to live without a donor liver. As a result, they were forced to perform the initial transplant with an unsuitable organ.
People wishing to donate to the fund can do so through a Bank of Ireland account. The sort code is 90-38-75, and the account number 13510376.