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Relief for family as Meadhbh recovers from 13-hour liver op

THE Irish teenager who missed out on a liver transplant last July was today recovering from her lengthy operation in intensive care.

Meadhbh McGivern's dad Joe revealed his relief this morning after the 13-hour procedure.

"We were all delighted the call came. I suppose really and truly she was apprehensive until we actually went airborne," Joe said.

"The plans this time were completely and utterly seamless.

"We spoke to them (the surgeons) last night. They're an absolutely excellent team. They're happy with the transplant.

"We just have to wait for her now, because she's in intensive care, for the ventilation equipment to be removed at whatever stage that she'd be able to breathe independent," he said.

"It's really the surgeons' call and we're guided by their expertise."

Meadhbh (14) was flown to King's College Hospital in London on Wednesday night, and she will remain there for up to six weeks.

"When the call came through, we thought 'is it for real?'" Joe said yesterday.

"Meadhbh was delighted and overjoyed.

"Until she got on the plane she was not really believing that she'd make it.

"Once we were in the air, then she knew.

"We were in Heathrow by 12.45am and land ambulance got us to the hospital by 1.30 or 1.40.

"Meadhbh was checked in and by 4am she was undergoing pre-operation procedures.

"At 7am the operation started and we were told it could last for anywhere between five and eight hours."

The family were quite anxious as the operation lasted five hours more than expected.

"I suppose five to eight hours is the usual timeframe for that type of surgery -- as time began to wear on we began to get more anxious, as you can imagine.

"Needless to say, all kinds of things are running through your mind at that stage but she was in their hands and at least she was in good hands, but thankfully we've got the outcome so far that we've always hoped for Meadhbh," he said.