September 11, 2017 16:22 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Boy, 12, now thriving after undergoing 3 liver transplants

Boy, 12, now thriving after undergoing 3 liver transplants

Theo Bowens, from Guiseley, Yorkshire, was struck by a mysterious virus which caused acute liver failure when he was just 13 months old. He had three liver transplants before turning three.

A 12-year-old boy who nearly died from liver failure is now thriving after undergoing three life-saving organ transplants as a toddler.

Theo Bowens, from Guiseley, Yorkshire, was struck by a mysterious virus which caused acute liver failure when he was just 13 months old.

The 'miracle baby' was just hours from death before he was given his first donor organ - five days after he was diagnosed. It failed almost immediately.

A second transplant was then carried out on the critically ill toddler 48 hours later, which lasted for nearly two years before packing up.

Doctors were able to give Theo, whose development has been severely impaired, a third donor organ in October 2008.   

But, now aged 12, Theo enjoys cycling and swimming and has competed in events at the British Transplant Games every year since 2009.

Theo Bowens, from Guiseley, Yorkshire, was struck by a mysterious virus which caused acute liver failure when he was just 13 months old. But, now aged 12, Theo enjoys cycling and swimming and has competed in events at the British Transplant Games every year since 2009

Theo Bowens, from Guiseley, Yorkshire, was struck by a mysterious virus which caused acute liver failure when he was just 13 months old. But, now aged 12, Theo enjoys cycling and swimming and has competed in events at the British Transplant Games every year since 2009

Speaking for the first time since his life-changing operation, his mother Rebecca, 46, is now urging others to sign the register.

She said: 'Theo is only alive today because three people were willing to go on the donor register and their families agreed to allow their organs to be donated.

'That's why he is alive and living life to the full. We are thankful every single day for the donations of the three organs. 

'Theo is just so active now and we will always be indebted to those who gave up their organs to help our son when he needed them the most.' 

The high-risk operations in February 2006 took a team of experts a total of 19 hours to complete. His father Simon, 39, thought his son was going to die.

He said: 'When we watched him go into theatre each time we honestly didn't know whether he would be coming back.

The 'miracle baby' was just hours from death before he was given his first donor organ - five days after he was diagnosed. It failed almost immediately

The 'miracle baby' was just hours from death before he was given his first donor organ - five days after he was diagnosed. It failed almost immediately

A second transplant was then carried out on the critically ill toddler 48 hours later, which lasted for nearly two years before packing up

A second transplant was then carried out on the critically ill toddler 48 hours later, which lasted for nearly two years before packing up

WHAT IS ACUTE LIVER FAILURE? 

Acute liver failure is loss of liver function that occurs rapidly — in days or weeks — usually in a person who has no pre-existing liver disease. 

It is less common than chronic liver failure, which develops more slowly. Figures suggest it affects one in 100,000 people.

Acute liver failure can cause serious complications, including excessive bleeding and increasing pressure in the brain.

Depending on the cause, acute liver failure can sometimes be reversed with treatment. 

In many situations though, a liver transplant may be the only cure.

Signs and symptoms of acute liver failure may include: 

  • Yellowing of your skin and eyeballs 
  • Pain in your upper right abdomen 
  • Abdominal swelling 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • A general sense of feeling unwell Disorientation or confusion 
  • Sleepiness

Source: Mayo Clinic 

'Each time he was hours away from death but unbelievably each time he pulled through.

'Then we would have given anything for him to be better - now we've got that wish. He is our own little miracle baby.'

Mr Bowens added: 'He has been an absolute inspiration to us. Every time we thought we were going to lose him he battled through.' 

For the first 13 months of his life, Theo was perfectly healthy but he was suddenly struck down by a mystery virus.

He became so ill that his parents took him to their local A&E department, where doctors immediately diagnosed liver failure.

For five days he was kept alive by a liver dialysis machine while he waited for a donor organ to become available. 

Doctors were then able to track a donor, and Theo was rushed into surgery at St James's Hospital in Leeds. 

As a thank-you to the hospital, Mr Bowen raised over 2,000 for charity by taking part in a 28-mile run through the Lake District.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is urging people to sign the Organ Donation Register as part of its Be A Hero campaign.

NHS Blood and Transplant are urging potential donors to speak to family members about their wishes during Organ Donation Week.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk

Doctors were able to give Theo, whose development has been severely impaired, a third donor organ in October 2008

Doctors were able to give Theo, whose development has been severely impaired, a third donor organ in October 2008

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