A Liver Donation Links and Saves Two Lives

Bobby and AssiahAlthough she’s just four years old, Assiah Phinisee of Philadelphia is now linked to singer and actor Bobby Rydell, and is a key reason that he is once again performing his hit songs from the 1950s and 60s.

That’s because Assiah, who was diagnosed with a rare condition affecting the bile ducts shortly after her birth in 2008, was offered a donor liver for transplant this summer.

Her surgeon Stephen P. Dunn, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College, asked Jefferson transplant surgeon Warren R. Maley, MD to procure a liver for Assiah.

Jefferson and duPont partner to provide pediatric transplant.

Dr. Maley said the liver could be split to enable an adult patient at Jefferson to also benefit from the donated organ. That patient was Bobby Rydell, who in addition to needing a liver transplant needed a kidney transplant, too.

So, Dr. Maley traveled to the donor hospital and split the donor liver into two parts. He accompanied the smaller portion of the liver to Wilmington, Del. and assisted Dr. Dunn with Assiah’s transplant.

At the same time, the larger portion of the liver and a kidney were sent to Jefferson where Cataldo Doria, MD, PhD, FACS, the Nicoletti Family Professor of Transplant Surgery and director of the Division of Transplant Surgery at Jefferson, as well as co-director of the Liver Tumor Center, and Carlo Ramirez, MD, FACS performed the double (liver and kidney) transplants on Bobby Rydell.

So that’s how a little girl from Philadelphia is forever linked to rock and roll legend and South Philadelphia native Bobby Rydell.

In this video three of the transplant surgeons involved discuss coordinating three transplants, across three separate hospitals,  with a multiple transplant recipient.

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